Pupils in years three and four to receive free school meals from September
Free school meals will be offered to primary school pupils in years three and four from September.
Education Minister, Jeremy Miles, has today announced that £70 million in funding will be put towards the further expansion of Universal Free School Meals.
The scheme is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru and has already seen five million additional free meals served across Wales since September 2022.
Locally 95,000 meals were served between September and the end of March to reception aged pupils.
The next phase of the expansion to provide free school meals to all pupils in primary school will begin in September 2023, with the offer growing to include the majority of learners in years three and four.
From April 2024 the rollout will include years five and six pupils.
Where local authorities are able to reach these year groups ahead of these milestones they have been funded to do so.
£260m has been committed to implement the programme over three years. This included £60m of capital funding for local authorities invested over the last two years to support improvements to school kitchen facilities, including purchasing equipment and updating digital systems.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said: “We are working at pace to ensure that every primary school child benefits from a nutritional school meal and that no child goes hungry.
“We know how difficult it is currently for families during the cost of living crisis. Universal free school meals provide significant financial help to families, while providing a nutritional meal to help children concentrate on learning.
“I would like to thank local authority teams across Wales who are working hard to rollout universal free school meals quickly.”
Plaid Cymru’s Designated Member, Siân Gwenllian, said: “We have delivered millions of free school meals since the start of the rollout of this life changing programme and one that is needed now more than ever.
“I am delighted we can announce further details of the expansion of universal free school meals in all primary schools in Wales by 2024, showing how co-operative working is making a real difference to people’s lives.
“We are making sure no child goes hungry, while also providing help for families during this cost-of-living crisis.
“I want to thank our local authorities and schools helping us achieve this.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com