LESS than a third of primary schools in Worcestershire have their own kitchen.

Only 50 of 181 first, primary or special schools and academies have their own kitchens.

The other 131 do not have a full kitchen.

The figures were revealed by Worcestershire County Council after concerns were raised about how schools will cope with the government's plan to offer all infants a free school meal from September.

However, the council said 126 of the 131 schools without a kitchen have some form of serving facilities so hot meals can be transported in via outside caterers.

Only five Worcestershire schools have no facilities to offer any kind of hot meal.

However, the government has not ruled out some schools providing a packed lunch rather than a hot meal.

From September schools must offer a free lunch to all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 but some schools have questioned whether the infrastructure is in place to allow this to happen.

All county schools have been asked to explain how they would deliver the meals and whether they want to bid for capital money to improve kitchens and dining facilities with the council currently assessing these bids.

A council spokesman said the majority of schools were requesting some additional equipment with most intending to use external caterers to provide the meals.

As we reported previously, Julie Farr, headteacher of Bishop Perowne CE Performing Arts College, which provides hot meals to St George's CofE primary and St Barnabas CofE primary, has called for funding issues to be resolved.

She said Bishop Perowne CE Performing Arts College will need a new £14,000 oven to help prepare the 400 extra meals it will need to provide to its primaries.

However she also pointed out other equipment was required such as a hot counter at one of the schools and all primary schools will need extra items such as plates and cutlery and somewhere to store them.