Schools stagger lunch times due to popularity of free school meals

Glasgow primary schools have arranged dining slots for pupils in a bid to ensure everyone is fed.

Popularity of Glasgow free school meals so high primaries have to stagger lunch eating times iStock

Free schools meals for primary pupils in Glasgow have been so popular headteachers have had to schedule lunch so children eat at different times.

Pupils from P1 to P5 have been having their food at different slots in the dining halls of certain schools, in order to fit all the pupils in for dinners.

The move comes as the council reports there is still no “formal” update on when free meals will be provided to P6 and P7.

Currently children in those years can only get food at no cost if their parents receive certain benefits.

A report to be presented to the council’s education services and early years city policy committee next week said: “Currently we have a number of schools where the increased take up due to automatic entitlement for P1 to P5 has resulted in schools having to stagger mealtimes and various sittings taking place within the dining hall.”

The report said the Scottish Government has awarded £2.262m of capital funding for this financial year – to “facilitate the roll out of universal entitlement free school meals”.

It added: “The capital will be required to make all the necessary changes to kitchens and dining areas to cope with the expected increase in uptake.”

The government’s deputy first minister Shona Robison recently confirmed P6 and P7 pupils will get free lunches by 2024 according to the BBC.

Referring to the situation with regards to P6 and P7 children getting free meals, the council report to the committee said: “The Scottish Government has also indicated that the roll-out of free school meals entitlement will be rolled out initially to those children whose parent or guardian is in receipt of the Scottish Child Payment.”

It added: “This is in advance of universal entitlement being rolled out for P6 and P7. At the time of writing we have no formal notification of the funding for either this initiative, or the universal roll-out.

“Obtaining information in relation to the numbers of families in receipt of the Scottish Child Payment has proved challenging and Glasgow continues to actively progress this with the agencies involved to aid with our financial planning.”

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