The programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children. The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them.
Speaking today, Minister Doherty said:
“Generally, the funding for the school meals programme ceases at the end of the school year – the end of May for post-primary schools and the end of June for primary schools. However, I want the funding to be available over the summer period to support children who do not have access to nutritious food to enable them to continue to receive meals during the summer school holidays.
“I am therefore making the funding available to all the schools and organisations currently in the programme over the summer for approximately nine weeks until the funding for the 2020/2021 school year commences.”
Funding School Meals Programme is for food items only and these must be of suitable nutritional quality. Funding under the scheme is based on the number of children and the type of meal being provided with priority given to schools which are part of the ‘Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools’ (DEIS) scheme. Since 2016 additional funding is available to all DEIS schools to provide breakfast and lunch to the majority of pupils. The total cost of the schools meals scheme in 2019 was €54m.