Free school meals serve up extra jobs


An extra 130 catering assistants will be recruited by Derbyshire County Council to help serve free meals to infant school pupils.

Every child in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will be entitled to a free lunch from September. At the moment, only families on low incomes qualify.

Across Derbyshire catering staff dish up 7,570 meals a day to children at infant and primary schools.

This will increase by up to 8,000 meals a day under these new proposals and more staff must be drafted in to help.

The part-time jobs will range from between five and 15 hours per week during term-time with vacancies across the county.

The catering assistant role will attract the Living Wage - introduced by the county council to help low-paid, hard-working families out of poverty.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It is currently £7.65 an hour.

Jobs will be advertised on the county council’s website from 31 March.

People can get more information by ringing Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190. The closing date is 27 April.

As part of the job they will help in the school’s kitchen and could be asked to prepare and serve food, clean surfaces and wash up.

Councillor Kevin Gillott, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “In Derbyshire we already recognise the importance of giving children a healthy meal with the launch of our breakfast clubs at 24 schools across Derbyshire.

“We’re pleased the Government is following our lead and offering all infant children a free school dinner.

“Research shows that hungry children are less likely to do well at school and we know that many families are struggling financially.

“We’re well placed to take up this national initiative as we have always supported our school meals service.

“We now need to recruit 130 catering assistants to work at schools across the county.

“This, in turn, will boost the local economy by putting money in people’s pockets and give employees enough money to provide a decent standard of living.”

Derbyshire County Council has received £1.8m towards the cost of enlarging kitchens and providing equipment like cookers, freezers and fridges to cope with the extra demand.