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HAMPSHIRE’S education chief says he has had no reports of teething problems with the introduction of free school meals in county schools.

And a spokesman for Southampton City Council has today said the authority "hasn't experienced issues" around the introduction of the initiative.

The Government initiative to offer free hot dinners for every four to seven-year-old was introduced this week on the initiative of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

But while schools elsewhere in the country have experienced some issues in introducing the scheme, county boss Peter Edgar says he has not been made aware of problems in Hampshire.

There are reports that nine primary schools in Mr Clegg’s city of Sheffield have had to bus in meals cooked at neighbouring schools due to a shortfall in funds to upgrade kitchens.

There are also reports that tables and chairs have not arrived at some schools, while canteen renovations have overrun.

And in Dorset a headteacher branded the policy a “fiasco” as children were left hungry after food was not delivered on time.

Dozens of schools in Hampshire and Southampton will have introduced their own free meals for the first time this week.

And Cllr Edgar says he is “confident the scheme will go well.”

He added: “We have made good efforts to ensure the scheme is a success.

“We are determined to make it a success because of the health, social and educational advantages for the young people involved, and that’s why we have invested an extra £3million in the scheme.

“At the moment the vibes are good.

“Dealing with such a large number of schools there will need to be full cooperation and some schools have had to adapt their days and timetables, but I’m really pleased that it appears that we will be able to provide a meal for every child who wanted a hot meal in Hampshire.”

A spokesman for the city council said the council "hasn’t experienced any issues around the provision of additional free school meals".

The spokesman added: "City Catering, the council’s in-house hospitality service, has been preparing for the expansion of free school meals served in Southampton since the government’s announcement in January.

"Southampton City Council received £440,000 to implement the free school meals initiative, which has been used to improve cooking, serving and dining areas.

"We are fully on track and we have no concerns around council maintained schools being able to meet the increased demand.

"Revenue funds have also been allocated to provide for additional catering staff in schools. City Catering has also been advising schools on how to best manage the increase in demand."