Weir encourages parents of eligible children to apply for free school meals

Date published: 04 August 2016

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.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Follow us on Twitter @education_NI.
  2. See photos from the Department of Education in our flickr collection.
  3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.

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