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Free school meals extended for April and May holidays

Free school meal holiday provision will continue to be available to children from lower income families for the Easter and Whitsun school holidays, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has confirmed today (March 9th).

The funding is an agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to have an impact on families across Wales, £9m has been provided to offer eligible pupils a free school meal up until the end of May half term holiday, including all bank holidays during this period.

The announcement comes on International School Meals Day on 9th March, which is celebrated annually to raise awareness of the importance of healthy eating and children’s well-being. The Welsh Government has been working with Children in Wales to support International School Meals Day by encouraging schools across Wales to celebrate school meals and to promote good nutrition.

In 2020 Wales became the first UK nation to guarantee free school meals for eligible families during the school holidays. Individual local authorities decide how to administer the free meal provision, either by creating lunches or by providing vouchers or direct payments to families.

The Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru’s Co-operation Agreement commits to providing free school meals to all primary school children during term time by 2024. Over three million meals have been served since rollout began in September 2022.

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said:

“Many families across Wales are feeling the impact of rising prices and the cost-of-living crisis. I hope extending free school holiday provision until May half term will give those eligible piece of mind.

“We know that food has a huge impact on concentration and children’s overall wellbeing. I want children and young people to be able to enjoy their school holidays and not have to worry about being hungry.

“This new announcement alongside the news that three million meals have been served up though Universal Primary Free School Meals shows our continued commitment that no child should go hungry.”

Plaid Cymru’s Designated Member, Sian Gwenllian, said:

“During this cost-of-living crisis we are taking action to make sure all children in our primary schools will have access to a nutritious, free school meal during term time, easing the pressure during these difficult times. By working together we are also able to announce a further extension of free schools meals during the school holidays for those from lower income families, a multi-million pound investment that will make a real difference to many.

“Our Co-operation Agreement is delivering much needed support for families to ensure children and young people get the best start in life.”

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