Plaid Cymru’s policy to introduce free school meals for primary school children has seen take up almost double in one north Wales school.
On a visit to Ysgol Borthyn in Ruthin, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS Llyr Gruffydd was delighted to find that the number of children having school meals had increased from about 35 to 60 in the past year.
He met with school head Tesni Lloyd-Jones, who explained that exact numbers varied as more opted for school dinners on Thursdays and Fridays but said they were almost double the numbers last year. The remainder choose to bring their own packed lunches.
Ms Lloyd-Jones said: “We’re fortunate in that we have a school cook who, as well as serving up a main meal and pudding, will go the extra mile to provide alternatives such as vegetarian dishes, wraps and a daily salad bar. Take up is particularly good in the reception class and there is capacity in both the kitchen and the main hall.”
School cook Christine Hughes added: “We have a large kitchen here with plenty of storage so the extra meals hasn’t been a problem at all. We have the same workload although I can imagine it would be more of a challenge in a school of 300 or more pupils.”
Mr Gruffydd said: “The uptake in demand is good to hear and that is even more pronounced in reception class, where 85% of pupils are having free school meals. It makes such a difference that children are getting a hot nutritious meal in school each day and also, given the cost of living crisis, it is saving families money.
“I’m immensely proud that Plaid Cymru’s policy, agreed as part of the Cooperation Agreement with the Welsh Government, is delivering for youngsters and their families.
“Some people had doubts that it could be rolled out in such a short timescale but the proof is in front of us – schools are delivering, pupils are benefitting and our policies are making a real difference to people’s day-to-day lives.”