Free School Meals in Scotland
2nd October 2008
Today the media is reporting the story that all children in Scotland will get free school meals for their first three years of primary school. There are so many questions that I want to ask about this; where is the funding coming from, are the meals healthy and nutritious, are there plans to extend the scheme to all primary children, do the schools already have working kitchens and trained staff? But all these questions aside I think the idea is good one.
Jamie Oliver showed in his ‘School Dinners’ campaign (http://www.jamieoliver.com/school-dinners) how much it would cost to improve the standard of food in schools in England and the government claimed the cost was too great. However, since then the School Food Trust (http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk) has been created and funding is gradually being increased, so improvements are definitely being made! All this made me wonder if the Scottish Government is having to choose between healthy meals and providing free food? Well it would appear not as new nutritional guidelines were recently implemented for all primary schools in Scotland (although I should say I haven’t looked at these yet!). But still the question – where is the money coming from and if they can do it, why can’t we all?!
The Scottish Government are not only improving standards of food in the schools but are ensuring all children in the age bracket get at least one nutritious meal a day. And by doing this, and getting the kids whilst they are young, they will hopefully encourage them to try food they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Perhaps a wider knowledge of healthier tasty options will distract from the junk food!
Here’s the BBC article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7646898.stm