Primary 5 pupils in Renfrewshire will benefit from a healthy school meal as the next phase of the national school meal expansion goes live.

From Thursday 6th January, primary five pupils will join their peers in primary one, two, three and four in receiving a healthy school meal without it costing their parents a penny. It is all part of the universal school meals expansion by the Scottish Government.

Children will also be able to enjoy new menus when they return in January following feedback from parents and pupils.

Favourites like chicken poppers, sandwiches, hot dogs and vegetarian sausage rolls are now back on the menu after the team reworked them to ensure they still meet the school and food in school legislation.

Elizabeth Moore, our school menu and nutrition coordinator, says ensuring that school meal menus find the balance between foods that children love while also providing health benefits is important.

“It’s clear that children and parents missed some of their favourites when we launched our new school meal menus in August. As a team, we have worked hard to ensure that children can still get something they like while also ensuring that they are eating balanced meals.

“When you introduce something that is classed as less healthy in the regulations, it means we need to review other things we provide in our menus so there is that healthy balance. We also look at other ways of providing the same meal, like using healthier alternatives.

“The new menus will give children more of what they love while also being healthy overall, and I hope they enjoy it.”

Councillor John Shaw, convener of finance, resources and customer services, says the expansion will help more children to enjoy a healthy, hot meal.

“When we first began providing universal school meals to all pupils in primary one, two and three, it was clear that this benefitted not only their health but also their capacity to learn and engage.

“Being able to increase the universal school meals offer to pupils in both primary four and five is an important step in ensuring that more children get the nutrition they need. School meals also support the language skills and friendships that children have, which is equally important.”