Council endorses plans to increase uptake in free school meals

Aberdeen City councillors today (Thursday 19 April) endorsed plans to significantly increase registration and uptake for free school meals.

The plans build on work already undertaken to encourage the uptake of free school meals including The Torry Free School Meal Initiative, taster sessions, partnership working, the provision of locally sourced, healthy, organic and sustainable meals and the use of Pupil Equity Funding to improve the outcomes of some of the most vulnerable who are eligible for free school meals.

This has resulted in increases for all Primary School pupils registered and accessing free school meals from 74.8% in 2014/15 to 76.9% in 2016/17. The figures for Secondary School pupils over the same period showed an increase from 61.2% to 68.1%.

Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “I’m delighted that we have agreed plans to build on the great initiatives already undertaken by our Catering Service and schools in increasing the uptake in free school meals.

“We are now in a great position to take the next steps in what is a key component in our strategy to provide the best and healthiest starts in life for our children and young people.”

The focal point of the new plans is the Children and Education Benefits Digital Initiative Project which aims not only to increase the registration for free school meals but also for school and clothing grants and educational maintenance allowance (EMA) across Aberdeen City through digitalising and automating the registration process.