Delivery of free school meals

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Dining facilities at many schools are already at capacity - and that’s before they start trying to provide free meals to all P1-P3 pupils.

After discovering the problems that some local authorities are going to have to provide the meals the Scottish Green Party has called on the Scottish Government to fund new kitchens and dining rooms to ensure the successful roll-out of the programme.

East Lothian council reports that 12 of its schools have no food preparation area, and 19 of its 41 school dining areas could not accommodate more pupils for lunch. Other local authorities are also dealing with either over-capacity in dining rooms or schools with no kitchen facilities as the food is prepared elsewhere.

The schools minister has confirmed that the Scottish Government has begun discussions with local authorities about the practicalities of rolling out free school meals for P1-3.

The situation in Borders schools seems under control, and a Scottish Borders Council spokesman said: “We are in a good position to deliver extra meals as we have a greater number of fully functioning kitchens (62/73) than most authorities.

“This is due to the insightful capital investment from Scottish Borders Council over the past few years. However most councils will need to make some alterations and we are no different. We are currently looking into exactly what is required but our staff have received extensive training to cope with any changes and the procurement system should aid any additional purchases that are required.”