A new policy means that as of today Scottish schools are providing free school meals for every primary 1 – 3 pupil regardless of means. All the schools in the Wester Hailes area return to their desks tomorrow and the younger ones are all entitled to a free lunch to keep them going during the day.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the measure, which will benefit an additional 135,000 pupils across Scotland and will save families of every eligible child at least £330 a year.
The Scottish Government is providing revenue funding of £70.5 million over two years to deliver the commitment, supported with total additional capital funding for all 32 local councils in Scotland of £24.8 million.
Speaking on a visit to her old primary school, Dreghorn Primary, in North Ayrshire, the First Minister said:
“This is an exciting and historic day for Scottish education. It’s the beginning of a new year, a new school term and free school meals are now on the menu for all Primary 1-3s. Great things are going on at schools across Scotland and it’s a privilege to be back at Dreghorn Primary as First Minister, as my experiences here had a huge role in shaping my life.
“As a Government, we want to do all we can to make sure every young person has the best start in life and can make the most of their time in school. The delivery of free school meals for all Primary 1-3 pupils underlines our commitment to doing all we can to support the development of our young people and tackle inequalities in our society, including the scourge of child poverty. That’s why I am delighted that this policy is worth at least £330 to families of every eligible child across Scotland.
“School lunches are hugely important in supporting a pupil’s ability to learn. We know from recent studies that free school meals improve nutrition and health among pupils, which can only help improve attainment in schools.
“Here at Dreghorn, the headteacher, Philip Gosnay, and his team have done a great job to prepare for the expansion of free school meals and I know that all over Scotland other councils and schools have been doing all they can to ensure our nation’s future will reap the benefits.”
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