Saturday, September 01, 2007

School Meals

Luke Akehurst has an excellent piece about the take up of school meals in London.

He highlights some very interesting data - for instance the entitlement to free school meals in England is 16% but in London it is 26%. Even more surprising is the fact that entitlement to school meals in Kensington and Chelsea, that Tory bastion, is a whopping 39%. In a recent study by Barclays, the average income in Kensington and Chelsea was £100,000, the highest in the country. I can only conclude that there are a few people earning several million and cancelling out those on income support, job seekers allowance or earning under £15k (the criteria for being eligible for free school meals).

City of London was second in the Barclays study with an average income of £81,425 - their free school meal entitlement is 24%. Westminster was third in the Barclays study with an average income of £77,500 - their free school meal entitlement was 36%.

What on earth is going on? How can these places top the league for average income, yet have a free school meal entitement of double the national average. Even if you account for the rich sending their children to private school, surely there is a bulwark of earners between £18k and £40k sending their children to state schools? House prices are expensive in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster (about £1 million each), so it is probable that the ordinary middle classes/aspirant working classes, who are the bedrock of the rest of England, are simply absent from these boroughs and only the very rich and the very poor live there.

Luke's piece contains full stats for each London borough, together with the full criteria for claiming school meals - to read it click here.


jams o donnell said...

Some of those stats are quite shocking. I was not surprised to see Tower Hamlets at the top but Kensington & Chelsea several places ahead of Newham? I know this is a statement of the blindinly obvious but it just goes to show how the affluence of some can cast a veil over poverty.

Neil Harding said...

I remember being told that Kensington and Chelsea constituency contains the poorest ward in the country. That is some inequality! No wonder JK Rowling's street has it's own private 24hr security team and CCTV.

Anonymous said...

What on earth is going on? ...
In a word "Pimlico"