Dr Alasdair Allan, MSP, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s languages, talks about International School Meals Day 2016, on Thursday 3 March 2016.
It has been a busy year since International School Meals Day 2015 when I visited Stornoway primary school to see the excitement of pupils getting ready for a skype call with Rosemary Hills Elementary school in Montgomery County, USA. I also stayed for a delicious school lunch and had the opportunity to hear from pupils about the value they place on school lunches, the busy dining hall spoke for itself!
Just two months prior to this, in January 2015, we launched universal free school meals for all children in P1-3 – ensuring that more pupils than ever before are entitled to a free, balanced and nutritious school meal. One year on, in January 2016, I was back at school, this time Burgh Primary School in East Lothian, to celebrate the first anniversary with children who were eager to share their school meal experiences. The success of this policy again demonstrates the value of school meals and the vital role they play in helping to educate our children about the importance of good food choices on their overall health and wellbeing.
The theme for this year’s International School Meals Day is ‘fresh, healthy, local’ and I can think of no better place to demonstrate this theme than Scotland. Once again, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland and our model of school food provision and food education. This provides an excellent opportunity for us to tell some of the great school food stories we have and describe the wider value that school meals has in meeting the economic, social and environmental challenges that our children will be faced with in the future. This will be equally true for schools across the world and I am looking forward to sharing our journey with them and to learn from their experiences.
I hope you are all getting ready with exciting ideas for International School Meals Day and that you will share your plans on the International School Meals Day website and social media. Now is the time to showcase the excellent work going on in schools around the world and the vital role that school food continues to play in helping to ensure a healthy, happy and prosperous future for our children and young people.