Commenting on the latest Government data showing an increase in pupils eligible for FSM, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“Today’s data release showing an additional 300,000 children and young people have become eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) during the pandemic highlights the devastating reality of thousands of families being pushed into poverty. 

'However, thousands more pupils from families on low incomes are slipping through the cracks and are not provided with this much needed support. No child should come to school too hungry to learn. 

'Government must act urgently to implement the recommendations of the National Food Strategy and expand FSM eligibility to all children and young people growing up in families in receipt of Universal Credit, as well as roll out FSM provision to cover the school holidays.”