Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Thousands of children 'missing out on free school meals'

Published 25/08/2015

It is claimed that thousands of children are missing out on free schools dinners
It is claimed that thousands of children are missing out on free schools dinners

Thousands of children are missing out on the free school meals to which they are entitled, the Education Minister has said.

Last year 97,517 pupils were eligible for the free dinners, but almost 20% did not take advantage of the service.

John O'Dowd said: "A school meal contributes to a child's healthy balanced diet, their growth and development, their educational performance and their long-term health and well-being.

"However, too many families are not accessing the free school meals they are entitled to."

Mr O'Dowd has urged working parents and guardians to check eligibility criteria with the Education Authority.

He added: "My Department is committed to raising standards in education and closing the achievement gap for young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds, and a healthy and nutritious school meal can make a significant contribution in helping deliver this.

"A child who is hungry may have difficulty concentrating in class and therefore be more likely to fall behind their peers if the issue is not addressed.

"In contrast, eating a healthy school meal can improve a child's concentration, their behaviour and ability to learn in class which will ultimately lead to improved educational outcomes."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph