An additional 1,908 primary school children in years 3 and 4 are set to receive free school meals in Neath Port Talbot.
Starting from Monday 17th April (start of Summer Term 2023), all children in primary years 3 and 4 will be entitled to Universal Free School Meals. Children will automatically receive free school meals directly through their school at the start of term. Parents do not have to apply.
However, parents that receive benefits that entitle their child to a free school meal are still being encouraged to register for a free school meal if they haven’t already done so as they may be entitled to a School Essentials Grant (SEG).
The scheme is a part of the Welsh Government’s commitment for every primary school pupil to receive a free school meal by 2024. The rollout in Neath Port Talbot started with reception children in September 2022 and Years 1 and 2 in November 2022.
More than £1.5m is being invested in improving school kitchens and updating equipment to ensure all primary children can eventually have access to a free, healthy and nutritious meal at school.
Remaining primary school year groups will follow in a phased approach to ensure the catering teams are able to manage the additional demand being placed upon them. Further information on when other year groups will receive free school meals will be announced in the coming months.
Councillor Nia Jenkins, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Training, said: “The Welsh Government’s Free School Meal pledge is more important than ever during the current cost of living crisis.
“I am pleased that we are able to continue the rollout ahead of schedule, and I am sure this announcement will be welcomed by many parents and carers who are struggling at the moment.
“We would ask for your patience as we build capacity to ensure a successful phased implementation, and we will continue to provide updates as we have more details on the rollout to further year groups.”