John McDonnell MP has joined Principal Laraine Smith and the Association of Colleges in calling on the Government to extend free meal provision to College students.John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, has joined Uxbridge College Principal Laraine Smith in calling on the Government to extend the provision of free meals to College students.If a 16 to 18-year-old from a

_PP13132John McDonnell MP has joined Principal Laraine Smith and the Association of Colleges in calling on the Government to extend free meal provision to College students.John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, has joined Uxbridge College Principal Laraine Smith in calling on the Government to extend the provision of free meals to College students.

If a 16 to 18-year-old from a disadvantaged background studies in a school sixth form, Academy or Free School they are provided with a free meal. If the same student chooses to study at a further education or sixth form college they lose that entitlement.

The Association of Colleges (AoC), the national body for colleges, has lodged a petition to end this inequality and staff, students and members of the public are being urged to sign it. The petition is part of the AoC’s wider campaign on the matter.

Mr McDonnell (Lab) said: “This disparity which sees students treated differently according to where they choose to study is inherently unfair. I fully support the No Free Lunch? campaign and hope that this issue can be resolved as soon as possible so that all students in my constituency are treated equally.”

Ms Smith said: “I am very pleased that John McDonnell is supporting this campaign. The case for students in colleges being treated equally with school students with regard to entitlement to free school meals is a simple and compelling one. I would encourage anyone who wants to support this campaign to sign the petition.”

On Tuesday 6 November Nic Dakin MP (Lab), a former college Principal, took to the floor of the House of Commons to help the AoC in the campaign by speaking on the subject.

* The petition can be signed at: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31069

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