Maureen’s Matters - Children to benefit

Christmas may be over, but a new year brings an exciting new commitment that will benefit our youngest pupils, across the North-east.

From Monday of this week, pupils in primaries one to three became entitled to a free school meal. The move will benefit an expected 135,000 children across Scotland and families of the children of these ages will save at least £330 on their annual bills.

The youngest children across North Kincardine, including pupils at Fishermoss, Portlethen, Newtonhill and Banchory Devenick primaries ,will have a guaranteed healthy, nutritious meal that will hopefully shape the eating habits they adopt for the rest of their lives.

It is for this reason that I believe the provision of free school meals in P1-3 is such a worthwhile policy. Rather than merely a free lunch, this is an investment in the future of our children, and ultimately in Scotland as a whole. Not only are families given a significant cash boost now, at times when money is tight, they can be secure in the knowledge that their children are receiving a healthy balanced meal, ensuring that good habits are formed from a young age.

The policy, delivered with £70.5m from revenue funding and £24.8m in additional capital funding by the Scottish Government, has been fully supported by campaigning organisations Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Children in Scotland, and trade unions.

The importance of a healthy nutritious diet will be emphasised from the beginning of a child’s education and this move truly invests in Scotland’s future. It will also contribute to the performance of children in the classroom, so that they are as well-equipped as possible.