01 Dec 2021

Extension of the Hot Schools Meals Programme

Ten Donegal schools to benefit

Extension of the Hot Schools Meals Programme

Extension of the Hot Schools Meals Programme

There has been a welcome for confirmation of the extension of the Hot Schools Meals Programme.

10 Donegal schools are set to benefit from the scheme.

The schools are: Dunfanaghy NS (Dunfanaghy); Murroe NS (Dunfanaghy); Naomh Bridhid (Carndonagh); Scoil An Aingil Choimheadai (An Cheididh, Burtonport); Scoil Bhride (Conmhagh, Lifford); Scoil Mhuire (An Craosloch, Letterkenny); Scoil Naomh Colmchille (Craigtown, Carndonagh); Scoil Naomh Padraig Boys (Carndonagh); Scoil Naomh Treasa (Tiernasligo, Urris, Clonmany); St Patrick's NS (Murlog, Lifford).

Outside of Dublin, Donegal has received the biggest allocation of funded schools in this announcement. It will enable many more Donegal students to receive a hot, nutritious meal every day.

Commenting on the announcement Minister for Agriculture, Food and the marine, Charlie McConalogue said: "This announcement today of an extension of the Hot School Meals Programme is important news for many of our families throughout Donegal and will help more students in Donegal receive hot, nutritious meals every day. This is crucially important for their mental and physical wellbeing and I thank my Cabinet Colleague Minister Humphreys for securing this funding." 

The School Meals Programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,506 schools and organisations benefitting 230,000 children. 

The objective of the programme 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. 

The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

Budget 2021 provided an additional €5.5m to extend the provision of hot school meals to an additional 35,000 primary school children, receiving the cold lunch option. Invitations for expressions of interest were issued to 705 primary schools (612 DEIS and 93 non-DEIS) in November 2020.  A total of 281 (256 DEIS and 25 non-DEIS) expressions of interest were received in respect of 52,148 children.

The 35,000 places were allocated to each local authority area based on the number of children applied by local authority as a percentage of the total number.  A minimum of one School for each Local Authority area was selected.  Thereafter, a process of random selection was used for each area.

Budget 2022 is providing for the Hot School Meals to be extended from January 2022 to the 81 DEIS schools that submitted an expression of interest but were not selected in the extension to 35,000. This will extend the provision of hot school meals to an additional 16,000 primary school children.


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