Pupils to receive free meals as School Meals Programme expands

Image: www.leadingedgeacademy.com

By: Precious Nkikita


Almost 50,000 pupils to receive free meals from September under the expansion of Government funding for the scheme.

An additional €3m on top of the extra €2.5m which was announced in last October’s budget to increase funding to schools already in the School Meals Programme.

The aim is to provide breakfast or lunch, or both, at nearly 250 more schools from the next school year.

64 schools added recently to the Department of Education’s DEIS programme, which offers help to schools catering for pupils with the most disadvantaged pupils will be included.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said the additional funding allows his department to increase the School Meals Programme for the first time in a long time to 180 non-DEIS schools “because, as we know, disadvantage extends beyond designated disadvantaged schools”.

Mr Varadkar said around 200,000 children currently benefit at 1,400 schools. This includes more than 250 community creches, preschools, and other settings.