PARENTS will have to fork out more money for school meals.

Hampshire County Council say that they have agreed an increase of 5p, to meet the rising cost of providing meals.

It means that each meal will cost £2.15, the changes will come into effect after April 1.

Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, councillor Keith Mans said: “We’re very proud of the high standard of school meals that our catering service (HC3S) provides - using locally sourced produce. A healthy lunch at school contributes significantly to a child’s wellbeing and their capacity to learn, through to the end of the school day.”

"I am keen that school meals remain affordable but we must balance this against the increasing cost of providing those meals, including higher charges for ingredients. It is my view that the proposal to raise the cost of each meal by small increments, over time, will avoid sudden, dramatic price hikes further down the line, and ensure that the price rise is manageable.”

More than 70,000 healthy school meals are served in Hampshire’s primary and secondary schools, across the county daily. All HC3S school meals meet the Department for Education’s rules for healthy school dinners and HC3S has worked with schools, pupils and parents for over 20 years, to create menus that are varied and follow the guiding principles of healthy eating.

Menus also adhere to the Hyperactive Children's Support Group's recommendations to remove over 70 additives and colourings that could affect children's behaviour.