Free School Meals for 140,000 Children in Scotland


Across Scotland 140,000 children and young people are being provided with a free school meal as part of efforts to support the most vulnerable during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


The SNP Government has provided local authority partners with £30 million of new investment to support families unable to access food as a result of COVID-19, with £15 million specifically for free school meals.


Local authorities are providing the majority of meals through vouchers, direct payments or home deliveries, according to the latest monitoring data.


New guidance to support continuity of learning at the start of term 4, which for the vast majority of children and young people will be experienced at home, will be published in the coming days. The Parent Club Scotland website also continues to be updated with a range of advice and support.


The £350 million Communities support package announced last month includes extra support for care-experienced young people, providing updated advice and IT support for families and is responding to a rising demand for counselling from children and young people.


Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said:


“As schools term 4 begins we will soon publish guidance from Education Scotland, both for teachers/practitioners and for families, to support continued learning. This will provide information about curriculum, teaching and learning at home, including digital learning and include sources of further advice and support.


“I am grateful for the commitment of all those working in Scotland’s education system for their efforts to support families and learners at this difficult time. Parents and young people too must be commended for how they have responded to the disruption caused by the closure of schools.


“The SNP Government continues to review advice and guidance to ensure parents, carers and learners get the assistance they need, when they need it. That includes work with key partners to provide and adapt a range of support for those children and families facing particular disadvantages or additional vulnerabilities.”


Kenneth Gibson MSP added:


“In the midst of this pandemic, with the harm and potential harm to our loved-ones and communities, the SNP Government continues to support children and families, both for their health and wellbeing and to help everyone continue their education.


“Free school meals are crucial for families, children and young people who need extra help and I am pleased that so many are receiving them.


“The SNP Government has worked closely with councils across Scotland, including North Ayrshire, to ensure they are able to put in place provision that meets local needs and circumstances.”


ENDS