Free meal increase
The number of pupils qualifying for free school meals has risen by 20,000 since last year, as the recession deepens. About 16 per cent of primary pupils and 13.4 per cent of secondary children now qualify for free school meals, the first rise in four years. The highest proportion is in inner London where a third of primary pupils qualify for the meals, followed by the North East, where 20 per cent do. The lowest rate is in the South East (outside London) where 10 per cent qualify for free school meals, although the take-up rate is 8.3 per cent.