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FEATURE: SOFTWARE IN SCHOOLS


Addressing the challenge of meeting demand for free school meals


recently, data from the Food Foundation thinktank, released in support of Marcus Rashford’s #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign, found that in the past Autumn alone almost a third (29%) of UK children aged 7-17 were registered for the Free School Meals scheme. That equates to 2.2 million young people across the country. A staggering 42% had registered during the pandemic. Research by the UK Collaborative on


Development Research (UKCDR) stresses the importance that the role Free School Meals plays


in the lives and development of children, stating that the level of nutrition children receive in their developmental years has a ‘lifelong impact on their health, learning, and income opportunities as an adult’. The resulting impact of not having access to these meals can be both that children significantly fall behind in schoolwork and families face further financial stress. The same research states that ‘malnourished children were 19% less likely to be able to read at age 8 years old’ and ‘were 13% less likely to be in the appropriate grade for their age’, compared to those with


I


n our final feature looking at software in schools and how it can help transform the


way schools manage their processes, Sarah Talbot, Emerging Technologies Lead at Swindon Borough Council, discusses how implementing an innovative digital transformational project has enabled it to meet surging demand for free school meals.


Throughout the pandemic, demand for Free School Meals has been concerningly high. Most


36 www.education-today.co.uk June 2021


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