Free school meal roll-out in Wales hits 1.5 million landmark
An additional 1.5 million free school meals have been served in primary schools across Wales since the rollout of universal primary free school meals began in September.
An extra 45,000 children now have the option of a free school meal as part of a £260 million investment from the Welsh Government.
The rollout started at the beginning of the autumn term, with reception children receiving the first free meals. Year one and two pupils are now also starting to benefit from the scheme.
Jeremy Miles, minister for education and Welsh language, said: “Schools and local authorities across Wales have been working incredibly hard to deliver 1.5 million additional universal primary free school meals in the first few months of the rollout.
“I’m pleased that so many primary school children have benefited from the scheme already.
“Families across Wales are feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, and universal primary free school meals are helping to ensure children have a nutritious meal.
“The programme will continue to expand in the new year, as even more authorities start offering free meals to Years 1 and 2 by April 2023.”
The programme has been introduced following the co-operation agreement between the Labour-run Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
Plaid MS Sian Gwenllian said: “Delivering 1.5 million additional free school meals in just over three months is a huge achievement and one that is needed now more than ever.
“The roll-out of universal free school meals in all primary schools in Wales shows how co-operative working through the agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government 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.
“The number of meals delivered will also increase as we work together to make sure all children attending primary schools will be eligible for free school meals by 2024.”
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