Free school meals for more primary school pupils this September
Written by Gavin on 31st August 2023
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has announced that it’s to extend its roll-out of the Universal Primary Free School Meals programmefor the new school year this September – to include Year 3 and Year 4 learners, and further eligible nursery age pupils.
The Welsh Government is working with Local Authorities to achieve its commitment to provide free school meals for all primary school children by 2024. The programme responds to the rising cost-of-living pressures on families, and aims to achieve the shared goal that no child goes hungry in school.A phased adoption process started across Wales in September 2022.
To date, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has successfully rolled-out the Universal Primary Free School Meals policy for learners in Reception (from September 2022), Year 1 (from January 2023) and Year 2 (from April 2023), while eligible nursery age pupils have also been offered the provision since January 2023.
The next phase of the roll-out will start Monday, September 4. It will include all learners in Year 3 and Year 4, as well as nursery age pupils who are four years old between April 1, 2023, and August 31, 2023.
Following the timescales set by Welsh Government, the Council is also on course to expand the programme further in April 2024. This will extend the offer to include Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, andfurther eligible nursery pupils.
Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Youth Participation and the Welsh Language, said:
“The Council is making excellent progress with its roll-out of the Universal Primary Free School Meals programme here in Rhondda Cynon Taf – and I’m very pleased that even more pupils will receive free school meals from September. This will make a huge difference to many families in these very difficult times, when the Cost of Living remains high and food prices are ever-increasing.
“It means that all pupils from Years 1 to 4, plus all Reception pupils and eligible nursery age pupils, will now receive nutritious free school meals when they start the new school year in the coming weeks. We’re also putting the arrangements in place tofurther extend this to Year 5 and Year 6 pupils in April 2024, to coincide with the timescales set byWelsh Government.
“Eating healthy meals has a huge, positive impact on children’s overall health and well-being. I’m proud that this support will soon help even more families – made possible by the funding provisionfrom Welsh Government and the close workingbetween the Council’s Catering Services team and our schools.”