Takeup of school meals at Sheffield primary schools has risen by up to ten per cent, figures show.
The number of reception, year one and two pupils enjoying hot school dinners went up to 81.29 per cent in November 2014, compared to 71 per cent in September.
The total number of primary school meals served has also gone up from 56 to 63.3 per cent in the same period.
Overall the number of meals served at 117 schools, as part of Sheffield Council’s contract with caterer Taylor Shaw, has risen by more than 2,300,
A £1bn Government policy to provide free school meals has been spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg.
Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said :”I am very pleased to see the increase in the take-up of free school meals among Key Stage One pupils in Sheffield.
“It’s all credit to the hard work of schools, contractors and catering staff and council officers that children were able to access them at such short notice.
“Research shows that eating good nutritious food directly benefits children and leads to an improvement in attainment, health and their life chances.
“Whatever help we can give families in this time of austerity can only be a good thing.”
The council confirmed it had also spent around £381,000 on an annual rolling programme of maintenance that allows for upgrading school kitchens from its existing budget.
Another £1.8m has been allocated to Sheffield from the Government to pay for free school meals .