One year ago this week the SNP introduced free school meals for all pupils in Primary 1 to 3.
This has been a huge relief for many at a time of tight household budgets – saving families £380 a year for each child. But the benefits of providing free school meals are not just financial. Free school meals make sure that young children get a healthy and nutritious meal every day, improving their concentration in the classroom and helping them to achieve better results.
In just one year, the number of pupils now registered for free school meals has almost doubled, increasing to nearly 260,000. Of those, over 190,000 are taking up their entitlement – nearly 130,000 of these being pupils in P1-P3.
The evidence shows that free school meals can help close the attainment gap in education, improving the performance of children from low income backgrounds.Nicola Sturgeon has put closing the attainment gap at the heart of our ambition for Scotland and this will be a key part of the SNP’s agenda in government if we are re-elected in May.
We know how important the first few years in education can be for a child’s chances in later life. The simple act of making sure that a child has a hot meal to get them through the school day can help them reach their potential – something which every child deserves.