This evaluation report examines the effectiveness of a 2-year pilot that tested two different approaches to extending access to free school meals (FSM). In Newham and Durham FSM were offered to all primary school pupils and in Wolverhampton FSM entitlement criteria were extended in all primary and secondary schools.
The evaluation compared the outcomes of pupils in these areas with those of similar pupils in similar areas to quantify the affect of extending entitlement to FSM on the take-up of school meals, attainment and absence from school, and pupils’ diet, health and behaviour. This analysis made use of both NPD records and data from a longitudinal survey which was carried out as part of the evaluation. Qualitative case studies were also used to explore how the pilot was set up and delivered, and to document the experiences and views of teachers, pupils and parents/carers.