Pupils develop a taste for free school meals

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Published Date: 

23 Feb 2015 - 16:21

Argyll and Bute Council’s award winning school meals service is proving to be a hit with 1,700 primary one, two and three children. That means that 77% of children attending primary 1 – 3 are enjoying the benefit of a free school meal each lunch time.

Research shows children are more likely to concentrate in the afternoon after eating healthy school lunches, with improvements to their health as well as increasing their understanding of how to make better food choices.

The school meals menu in Argyll and Bute is designed largely by pupils who contribute to the menu's development through focus groups, while gaining an understanding of the importance of having a balanced choice.

The council’s Policy Lead for Education and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Aileen Morton, said, “The provision of a hot meal to children who may not have had one previously, for a variety of reasons, promotes healthy eating in early years and underpins the council’s commitment to ensuring that every pupil has the best chance of making the most of their educational opportunities as well as promoting inclusion and equality.

“A nutritious meal in the middle of the day, healthy physical activities both in and out of school and a wholesome curriculum of learning, all add up to giving children and young people the qualities they need to contribute to the growth and development of Argyll and Bute in the future.”

From January 2015, new arrangements introduced by the Scottish Government give more children in primary one, two and three the option to receive a free healthy, nutritious meal in the middle of the day.

The changes have major implications for some schools and a pilot scheme which ran during the two months leading up to the end of last year fully tested the operational impact and assessment of cost implications showed an uptake of 74%.

The cost to the council of providing the increased number of meals is estimated to be £744,423 during the first full year – 2015/16 – to cover additional food, staffing, dining room supervision and extra kitchen equipment. The Scottish Government has allocated funding for these costs, as well as an additional £550,000 to off-set any additional costs for the refurbishing of existing kitchens.

For information about school meals in Argyll and Bute go to :


The council’s school meals service was awarded the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark showing that their food preparation, ingredients and practices meet the high standards required, and that they work to support local producers