Free School Meals for all London Primary School Students Begins in September

In a move aimed at tackling the growing cost of living crisis, Mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled an ambitious emergency scheme to provide free school meals for every primary school child in London, taking effect from September 2023 and running for one academic year. With families across the city struggling to make ends meet, amid rising prices and stagnant wages, this £130 million initiative seeks to alleviate some of the financial burden on parents while ensuring that children receive nutritious meals during their crucial formative years.

The announcement was part of Khan’s broader commitment to address inequality and improve social mobility in the capital, recognising that access to healthy food is fundamental for educational success and overall health and well-being. As London deals with the economic challenges, this groundbreaking initiative promises to alleviate the financial strain for thousands of families and enhance opportunities for young children in the capital.

The importance of healthy nutritious meals for students

Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is crucial for the overall well-being and academic performance of students. By providing around 270,000 primary school children in London with healthy meals, families can save around £440 per child over the course of the year. This not only relieves the financial pressure on households but also ensures that students have access to balanced meals that promote their physical and mental growth.

Research shows that consuming nutrient-rich foods aids in the development of cognitive abilities, concentration levels, and memory retention – all of which are essential for academic success.

Improved attendance and academic performance

Providing free school meals has been shown to positively impact academic performance. Numerous studies have found that children who receive regular nutritious meals perform better academically compared to those who do not. This could be attributed to the fact that proper nutrition is vital for brain development and cognitive function. When students have stable access to healthy food, they are more likely to have the energy and focus necessary for learning.

In addition, the provision of free school meals instills a sense of inclusivity and equality among students. Regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds or family circumstances, all students receive the same nourishment. This not only helps reduce the stigma associated with receiving free food but also cultivates an environment where all children feel valued and supported in their educational journey. By addressing the basic needs of students, schools can create an atmosphere conducive to overall student well-being and success.

Preparing your school dining hall

One important consideration, when preparing your dining hall for increased capacity during the free school meal funding, is investing in the right new school dining furniture. This furniture plays a crucial role in turning a multi-use hall into a comfortable and functional eating space for students. Opting for sturdy, durable tables that can accommodate more students will be essential to managing lunchtimes efficiently.

While increasing the number of tables is certainly important, it is equally vital to choose ones that are easy to clean and maintain. This will help ensure hygiene standards are upheld, especially during peak periods when the turnover of meals is high. Additionally, exploring options with adjustable table heights like our Benchmark range can provide further flexibility, meeting the needs of different school settings and catering for students of different ages.

Equally, this increased demand may also require schools to expand their dining areas into multi-space environments for PE and assemblies. Making use of space-saving tables like our Wall Pocket systems, that fold into specially designed recessed or wall-mounted units, provides you with the perfect solution to this problem without having to clutter up your hall with extra furniture.

Contact Versa today

Versa Design, part of the Westcountry Group, are experts in designing and manufacturing versatile, flexible and space saving dining furniture for education establishments. We are committed to providing innovative and functional solutions that meet the unique needs of each educational setting across the UK.

Whether you are looking to upgrade your current dining furniture or looking for something new, we have delivered a number of multi-purpose and dining hall projects that meets the needs of our education environments. He’s what our customers had to say:

Contact us today to find out more – call 0330 030 0330, email: or visit

Our school dining furniture is built to last, so year after year students can benefit from your investment in their future!