Ballinasloe primary school joining Hot School Meals programme

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Galway Daily news Pilot scheme for hot meals in early learning and childcare

One new school in Galway will be joining the Hot School Meals programme next year, out of 81 nationwide.

Minister Heather Humphreys announced up to 16,000 additional primary school pupils will benefit from the Hot School Meals starting from next January.

Scoil Naisiúnta Na Heaglaise in Ballinasloe is one of 81 DEIS schools which has been invited to join the programme under the €3 million additional investment.

The schools being invited to participate are currently availing of the cold lunch option under the School Meals Programme.

“Receiving a hot meal in the middle of the day is so important for nutrition but also for a child’s mental and physical wellbeing,” Heather Humphreys said.

“It also leads to better educational outcomes and an improvement in the overall wellbeing of our children.”

“As Minister, I am delighted to see this programme extended so that thousands more children and their families can benefit.”

The Hot School Meals programme was launched in 2019, serving some 6,600 primary school pupils in 37 schools on a pilot basis.

With this latest extension, there will now be 55,000 pupils in the county getting hot food during their school day.

The largest number of new schools joining the programme are the 27 in Dublin, followed by 10 in Donegal, and 7 in Cork.

Galway is one seven counties with just one new school joining the programme, along with Roscommon, Monaghan, Louth, Longford, Laois, and Carlow.

Budget 2021 allocated €5.5 million extra funding to add hot meals to schools where pupils were getting the cold lunch option.

Invitations to submit an expression of interest were sent to 705 primary schools (612 DEIS and 93 non-DEIS) in November of last year.

Of those, 281 expressions of interest were received from schools, representing 52,148 pupils.

The Department said that 35,000 places available were allocated to each local authority area based on the number of children applied by local authority as a percentage of the total number.