Parents urged to make the most of free school meals

All pupils in primaries one to three are now eligible to receive a free school meal — and East Renfrewshire’s education convener is urging parents to take advantage.

The Scottish government policy came into effect this month, entitling an additional 135,000 children to free school meals.

It is estimated that the scheme will save families £330 per year per child, and it has received support from child poverty campaigners including Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, Children in Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland and trade unions.

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This week, councillor Elaine Green, convener for education and equalities, said: “A lot of hard work has been done by our schools to make sure kitchens, dining areas, catering staff and suppliers are geared up to ensure all our younger children can eat a health meal together.

“We want as many children as possible to benefit from this initiative. Evidence shows that well-fed children who’ve had a nutritious lunch do better in school and a free school meal will help every P1-3 child achieve their best.”

The scheme was put forward in 2013, and Extra readers debated the issue, with one calling it “a great idea — feeding all P1-3s removes any stigma” — however, others responded that the scheme should be means tested.