Published 15 December 2021

Primary 5 pupils will have the option to receive a free school meal from January as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to expand free school meals to all primary pupils by Autumn 2022.

The new initiative being launched in West Dunbartonshire on the first day of the new term, Wednesday, 5 January, entitles children in P5 to a freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced meal every day at no cost.

Children in P1-4 already benefit from free school meals, regardless of their family income.

The further expansion to include P5 pupils, funded by the Scottish Government, has been welcomed by parents, who could save £484.50 a year.

The Council received the bronze Food for Life Served Here award for serving freshly made school meals from Scottish/UK ingredients, including sustainably farmed meat and fish, free range eggs as well as produce free from genetically modified ingredients and undesirable additives

The achievement reinforces the Council’s commitment to providing pupils with nutritionally balanced breakfasts, lunches and snacks and currently applies to the catering service across the Council’s 32 primary schools and 29 early years and Additional Support Need (ASN) sites.

Copies of the school meal menus, which are compliant with the required School Food and Drink legislation, are available to parents and carers on the Council’s website and information will also be shared via the Council’s social media platforms.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “We are fully committed to the health of our young people and recognise the importance a healthy diet plays in a child’s development.

This will be a great financial help to our families and I’m pleased this is being rolled out in January when money is tight for everyone following on from Christmas. Our school catering teams have been preparing for this initiative being implemented for a number of months.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, added: “The extension of free school meals to all children in P5 is a very welcome development. Our catering staff do a fantastic job of cooking and serving healthy and nutritious meals to our school pupils and many more young people will now benefit from that service. We know children learn better when they’re not hungry and by introducing this to all P5 in addition to the P1-4 children we will be helping thousands of families across West Dunbartonshire.”

If your circumstances have changed and you think you may be eligible for free schools meals please visit www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/schools-and-learning/school-and-educational-grants/free-school-meals-and-clothing-grant/#Free%20school%20meals