We hear from our colleagues at the Welsh Government about the commitment to offer universal free school meal provision in primary schools by 2024.
In Wales we have a commitment for all primary school pupils to receive Universal Free Primary School meal by 2024. The rollout has already begun, and since September many of our youngest learners have been able to enjoy free nutritious meals, with xxx meals already served.
The Welsh Government is operating under a collaboration agreement with Plaid Cymru. Alongside working closely with all 22 Local Authorities in Wales, sharing the same mission that no child should go hungry.
Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said:
“No child should ever be at school hungry. Given the pressure so many families are under with the increases in the cost-of-living we are absolutely committed to taking practical measures to support our children and young people.”
So how will this roll out?
By April this year the majority of children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 will be receiving Universal Primary Free School Meals, with Local Authorities given the flexibility, support and funding to start earlier if they can. Those in older years who are eligible for benefit related Free School Meals won’t be affected by the roll-out of the universal scheme.
During this first year of delivery, schools will continue to build capacity to deliver the rapidly increasing number of meals. Welsh Government has committed £225m to secure its delivery over the next three years. By September 2023 most pupils in reception and years 1 and 2 will have access to Universal Primary Free School Meal.
All primary school pupils will receive a Universal Primary Free School Meal by 2024.
Support for School Essentials
The Welsh Government are also supporting eligible learners to be able to access school essentials, including uniform, shoes, coats, equipment for school activities and stationery. Those who are eligible for benefit-related Free School Meals can also apply for a grant of up to £300 for a School Essentials Grant (previously called Pupil Development Grant – Access) equipment for school activities and stationery. It’s valuable help and the Welsh Government is encouraging all those eligible to apply for this support.
Parents have highlighted that they want to hear directly from their child’s school and local authority about changes to their child’s education, a toolkit has been developed which includes information and mages to make it easier for schools and LA’s to promote awareness amongst parents
Working together is improving the well-being of our children and families. As a Government we appreciate the roles of all involved. Something our Education Minister is keen to acknowledge, who said:
‘I want to thank our local authorities and schools for working with us so constructively over the past few months to help make this a reality.’