Thousands of children in Wolverhampton will be eligible to receive free school meals again this autumn. All Key Stage 1 – Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 – pupils in state-funded schools in England are eligible for a healthy, cooked lunch, at no cost to parents or guardians. It means more than 8,300 pupils in Wolverhampton will be able to get a main course and dessert every weekday during term time throughout the coming school year.

It is part of the national Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme to provide free school meals to Key Stage 1 pupils in maintained infant and primary schools, free schools, academies, schools for pupils with special educational needs and pupil referral units.

Parents do not need to register to receive these meals, but many schools have asked parents to do so in order that the necessary arrangements can be made.

Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I'm delighted that all Reception and Year 1 and 2 pupils in Wolverhampton will be able to receive delicious and nutritious lunches for free again in the coming school year.

"I'd urge all parents of children who are starting Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 this autumn to take advantage of this excellent opportunity.”

Though the majority of pupils who are moving into Year 3 next month will no longer receive free school meals, some children and young people in Years 3 and above will still be eligible.

Some infant-aged children may also be able to enjoy free milk; parents must register before the start of term to receive this benefit.

The council's Catering Services team scooped a Food for Life mark for the standard of meals served up in its primary schools last year after meeting strict criteria including ensuring that at least 75% of dishes were freshly prepared, all meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards and that menus cater for all dietary needs.

Schools in Wolverhampton offer a rotating three-week menu including vegetarian options.