i went to primary school from 88-95 and they couldn't have cooked meals for all then (even the exceptionally poor meals on offer). schools will know the local patterns of how many generally have meals and how many bring packed lunches so that will be what they are planned on not planning on being able to provide for all because that would be a massive waste of resources.
My nephew has just started at primary school and over half of his year group of 45 have packed lunches, assuming similar for the whole of KS1 then you would be looking at next year asking that school to suddenly double the number of meals it prepares for KS1/FS if everyone takes up the free meal. If they extend it for the whole school that issue will get even bigger.
They have space for everyone to eat (in shifts as you would expect in a school) but they certainly won't have the facilities to suddenly double the amount of meals UNLESS the goverment is going to provide them with more equiptment and more suitably trained staff.
Duchesse When school catering contracts were put out to competitive tender in the private sector, many were won by contractor companies who deliver food that just needs warming in a cabinet. Therefore schools had a redundant room and were forced to put it to use. The school at which I was a governor halved the size of the kitchen to make two study areas for SEN kids. If they then are expected to provide twice as many meals, they will have to use cook chill methods as there is not enough physical space to cook from scratch.
And where do kids eat?
Well, at DCs secondary, the hall seats 400 - which leaves 1100 eating in tutor rooms, stairwells, corridors, playgrounds etc etc
to build a space big enough to hold all 1500 at once would be a daft waste of resources
Did anybody hear the Food Programme on Radio 4 about school lunches? Crystallised everything I believe about good school lunches and how the schools with the best take-up run them. Should be available on iPlayer soon or listen to it again on Monday afternoon.
I think schools should nurture their pupils, not simply gather them together each day for the purposes of delivering the curriculum to them. Part of nurturing young children and not so young ones involves feeding them. To my mind ensuring that children are adequately fed whilst in the care of their schools is absolutely part of the school's role. Schools would be extremely unwise imv to neglect the basic wellbeing of their pupils.