Free school meals on the menu for P1-P3 pupils

Councillor Ghai and kitchen staff and pupils at the launch of the free school meals initiative.
Councillor Ghai and kitchen staff and pupils at the launch of the free school meals initiative.

Dinner ladies in East Dunbartonshire are in for a busy new year, dishing up thousands more free school dinners each week.

Dining halls were expected to be packed after the Scottish Government introduced free meals for all primary 1-3 children.

A range of plans are in place for the predicted surge in update, including hiring new staff, buying new equipment and increasing orders from suppliers.

Around 300 children are currently eligible for a free school meal but this figure is expected to rocket to more than 3,000 as the new initiative comes into force.

Councillor Ashay Ghai, the council’s convener of neighbourhood services, said: “While we don’t know for sure how many children will take up the offer of a free lunch, we are expecting around 80 per cent to take advantage of this.

“Children benefit greatly from a hot meal at lunchtime, as it has a positive effect both on their health and wellbeing as well as their academic performance. Our officers have planned well for the introduction so we are hoping for a smooth start to the project over the coming weeks.”