HOT school dinners are off the menu at 12 schools after the Government failed to provide enough funding for the new policy.

The Department for Education has told primary schools to provide free hot lunches in the first three years of school.

A total of 12 schools in Essex, including Montgomery Infants, in Colchester, are serving packed lunches, because they have not got adequate cooking capacity.

The school, in Baronswood Way, has taken £10,000 out of its budget to create a new serving area.

Headteacher Sally Leung said: “There are other costs involved. I need two staff members to work three or four hours a day, which is a cost for us.

“We had a grant for some of the building work, but there are other costs beyond it.

“I am all for free meals and I think it is a good idea and a positive thing for the children.”

For the full story, see Thursday's Gazette