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Free School Meals Written Answer, 16/12/14 [S]

Written Answer given in response to Gordon MacDonald's (SNP) question asking the Scottish Government how many children received free school meals in 2014 and how many will receive them in 2015 following the extension in January.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance replied that In 2014, 126,388 (18.8%) children and young people in Scottish schools were registered to receive a free school meal. This includes a very small number of children in primary 1-3, who might not meet the eligibility criteria prescribed in statute, but registered for free school meals as part of local initiatives designed to promote healthy eating in the early years. Take up of these is higher than any year since 2005 (85% of those registered and present).
From January 2015, all primary 1-3 pupils will become entitled to a free school meal. It is not possible to predict precisely what the impact will be on the uptake of free school meals for primary 1-3, however, free school meal pilots in 2007-08 resulted in an increase in uptake from 53% to 75% of primary 1-3 pupils. The evaluation of that pilot forms the starting point for our estimates. We have agreed to monitor the uptake of free school meals with COSLA but estimate that the measure is expected to benefit an additional 135,000 pupils across Scotland and will save families of every eligible child at least 330 a year.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 16 December 2014 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 16 December 2014