Young Angus schoolchildren received a tasty treat as they went back to class this week in the form of free school meals.
Every Primary 1 - 3 pupil throughout Scotland, an additional 135,000 children, will now get a free school meal each day thanks to the Scottish Government’s provision of £70.5 million over the next two years as well as a further £24.8 million additional capital funding for all 32 local authorities.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 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.
“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.”
The First Minister was at her old school, Dreghorn Primary in North Ayrshire, on Monday to mark the official launch of the scheme.
She said: “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.”
Up until now free school meals have been available to children of any age under certain criteria, such as the receipt of a number of benefits or income support by the parents.