The Government’s free school meals programme has been criticised after the Department of Education revealed that £150 million was given to schools regardless of whether they needed new facilities to provide food for pupils. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP pledged to provide free school meals for all infant school pupils at the Liberal Democrats’ party conference last year. Sources at the Department for Education say Mr Clegg failed to take into account the cost of upgrading kitchen facilities to meet the demand, forcing the Government to offer £150 million to pay for the building work. It’s been claimed that councils such as Durham and Newham, which have already upgraded their school facilities, are set to receive extra funding while others which say they need more assistance will not get it.
Gary from PSI: This story seems like the latest development in the rift between Nick Clegg and Michael Gove. The Deputy Prime Minister has previously attacked key parts of the Coalition’s school reforms with Gove’s allies responding by accusing the Liberal Democrat leader of trying to sabotage his efforts to improve schools.