Commenting as Welsh Government today announce they will be investing £25m in school kitchen and dining infrastructure, as part of plans to roll out free school meals to all primary school children in Wales, Laura Doel, director of school leaders’ union NAHT Cymru, said:
“School leaders support the mission of the Welsh Government to ensure no child goes hungry. Children who are hungry cannot learn as well as they might be able to. Free school meals at least guarantee that children get one nutritious meal a day.
“On a practical level, however, there are some challenges that will have to be worked through to ensure schools are able to deliver on this pledge. Some schools that provide their own meals are not equipped or resourced to provide a meal to all children, some schools outsource their catering provision and there are issues with the supply chain that need to be addressed, and for others there are issues with capacity if meals are produced and brought into a setting from neighbouring schools.
“Even with this significant investment, we need to be realistic about what schools will be able to deliver given that we are only a term away from the beginning of the rollout. What we don’t want is schools being blamed if they are unable to comply with this plan from September when they are already dealing with so many other government priorities, especially given that there has been very little lead-in time to this new policy.”
First published 30 March 2022