That was the message from Education Minister, Peter Weir as the new school year approaches.
The Minister said:
“One of my Department’s aims is to raise standards in education and the importance of a healthy school meal in achieving this should not be underestimated. There is a recognised connection between healthy eating and improved learning and a nutritious school meal contributes to a young person’s growth and development.”
The ‘Food in Schools’ policy advocates a whole school approach to ensure that only healthy food is provided in schools and that young people develop the knowledge and skills to enable them to enjoy a healthy lifestyle as they progress through life.
Continuing the Minister said:
“Eating a nutritious school meal can improve a child’s concentration, behaviour and their ability to learn in class. This ultimately leads to better educational outcomes. Parents have a role to play in encouraging healthy eating and embedding a lifelong habit that will ultimately lead to improved health in adult years.”
In 2015/16, 101,063 pupils were eligible for free school meals with 82,002 (81.1%) of eligible pupils availing of the service.
Further information is available on nidirect - Nutrition and school lunches.
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