Conservatives ask schools to take funding away from improving education of disadvantaged pupils to fund school meals shortfall after 20% price increase

15 Sep 2023

Last month the Conservative-run Bedford Borough Council increased school meal prices by 20% putting pressure on families struggling with the cost of living crisis. School budgets will also be hit by the responsibility to fund the additional cost of free school meals. The Conservatives have told schools to fund the shortfall using Pupil Premium Money – a grant set up to improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged pupils.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Leigh Coombs challenged the Conservative administration on this decision at the Executive meeting. He said “At the time that families are so hard pressed it is not acceptable to hike up the costs by 20%. This is particularly the case when there is a £115,000 School Meal reserve that could be used to reduce costs. You made an active choice to put the costs up by so much when you didn’t have to.

“And then you said in the decision that schools should improperly use their Pupil Premium funding to pay for their costs. This is taking money away from helping the educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils. Thankfully it’s not allowed but even the point that you thought that it would be a good use of the funding says so much. 

“This a bad decision. Costs up for parents and improper advice to schools.”

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.