Dr Angus Holford, Research Fellow at ISER, and co-author of a new Nuffield Foundation study looking at the impact of Universal Infant Free School Meals, discussed early findings from the research with Shadow Minister for Public Health, Sharon Hodgson MP, the Shadow Minister for Children and Families, Steve Reed MP, and Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group and Michael Hales from the school catering body, LACA.
Dr Holford described part of the first findings from the study in a blog for the New Statesman.
The ISER research project is studying children from various ethnicities, socio-economic areas and schools with different characteristics to assess the impact of the UIFSM policy on:
- educational performance at age 5 (with supplementary analysis at age 7);
- personal, social and emotional development at age 5;
- Body Mass Index and rates of children being underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese throughout reception year in school (age 4-5);
- school absences due to illness and medical appointments in infant school, between ages 4 and 7;
- take-up of school lunches, both among newly eligible children and those who were already eligible for free school meals
The event was organised by the New Statesman at the Labour Party Conference fringe.
A parallel event planned for the Conservative Party Conference fringe has been cancelled.