Department for Education
Our evaluation looked at whether eating free school meals, rather than a packed lunch, had an impact on pupils’ health and academic performance.
We were asked by the Government to evaluate the impact of their Free School Meals Pilot.
The aim of this pilot was to get more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds eating school meals, to find out whether pupils who eat a healthier diet did better at school.
In order to find out whether the Free School Meals pilot had an impact, we compared outcomes for pupils taking part in the pilot with outcomes for pupils who weren’t taking part.
We matched pupils according to many characteristics including their age, sex and ethnicity. The pupils whose outcomes we measured from non-pilot schools were also from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Our researchers the used administrative data to find out what the impact of the pilot had been on academic attainment.