Date lodged: 16 November 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what action it can take to ensure that, where schools offer a cashless catering service, P1-P3 pupils who do not take the free meal option are unable to substitute this with sweets and other general tuck.
Answered by: John Swinney 23 November 2016
The Scottish Government does not require schools to operate a cashless catering system to deliver free school meals to P1-P3 pupils, which is a universal provision for all children in those year groups and has been fully funded by this Government. The P1-P3 policy is designed to ensure that our youngest pupils are offered a balanced and nutritious lunch each school day. This is what was agreed with local government and we expect all education authorities to take necessary steps to ensure that this happens. The opportunity to substitute a lunch for an alternative offering was not part of that agreement.
All food and drink served in schools must meet strict nutritional standards set out in the school food Regulations. In particular these standards prevent confectionary being offered at any time of the day and do not allow savoury snacks such as crisps to be provided at lunchtime. Compliance with the Regulations is monitored by Education Health and Nutrition Inspectors.