Try something new! Cardiff launches new primary school meal menu during National School Meals Week

06/11/23

6th – 10th November 2023

Cardiff celebrates National School Meals Week 2023 with the launch of a new primary school meal menu for the start of the new half term.

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National School Meals Week is a nationwide campaign from LACA – The School Food People, which aims to shine a light on the benefits that quality school meals have on the health and wellbeing of children and young people. The campaign also highlights the value of school meals, particularly for families who may be experiencing challenges caused by the cost-of-living crisis and rising food costs. You can read more here:
National School Meals Week – National School Meals Week (lacansmw.co.uk)

This year, the week-long campaign aims to encourage children who haven’t tried meals in a while to give them a go, or for existing customers to sample new dishes.

Cardiff’s new primary school meal menu has been developed to offer ten new dishes alongside pupil’s favourites. A range of improvements have been made to the new menu, including using a number of Welsh products such as bread, sausages and yoghurts, helping to support the Welsh economy and promoting sustainability.

Two portions of vegetables will continue to be offered with each meal as part of Cardiff Council’s continuing commitment to the Peas Please veg pledge, which is above the minimum standard from Healthy Eating in Schools (Nutritional Standards and Requirements Wales 2013), all fish products are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the number of plant-based options across main courses and desserts have been expanded.

The menu is fully compliant with Healthy Eating in Schools and has received the certificate of compliance from the Welsh Local Government Association, who are responsible for monitoring compliance in Wales.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: “We know that providing healthy and nutritious school meals has a positive impact on learners and National School Meals week helps to highlight this. Our school catering teams work hard to develop a varied and inclusive menu for children to enjoy, meeting the requirements set by Welsh Government. In addition, with the use of Welsh, British and certified products, families can be reassured that opting for school meals provides a range of positive benefits.”

Cllr Sarah Merry added: “Many families across the city are still experiencing pressures caused by the cost-of-living crisis. The Universal Free School Meal scheme has already enabled more than 7800 families of primary aged children to access the provision, however there are many more who are still yet to take advantage of it.

“We are committed to making sure that the financial squeeze does not get in the way of education and that those parents who need it most, receive the help that they are entitled to. I urge anyone who thinks they might be eligible for free school meals, either through the universal or benefits-based free school meal schemes, to get in touch so that they can access the right support throughout the school year. Help and advice is available from our Advice and Benefits teams.”

The Universal Free School Meals scheme for primary aged children is provided to all pupils from Reception to Year 3. Council teams continue to work hard to increase catering capacity and put provision in place so that free school meals can be rolled out to the remaining primary year groups against the target dates, as soon as schools are able to do so.

In addition to Universal Free School Meals for primary aged children, families who receive benefits and with children of all ages, must continue to register for a free school meal. Details can be found here:
Free School Meals (cardiff.gov.uk)

They may also be entitled to other grants which can help to buy school uniform and other school essentials. Registering for available support may also mean a child’s school can access additional funding which can be spent on supporting learning.

Qualifying benefits include:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

In terms of Universal Credit – applications made on or after 1 April 2018, your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any other benefits received).

Since September, eligible learners in Cardiff have been able to access additional financial support from the Welsh Government School Essentials Grant (SEG) which helps with the cost of uniform, sports equipment, stationery, and devices. This is in addition to Free School Meals.

If you are a family with children who are not currently receiving Free School Meals and your circumstances have changed this year, Cardiff Council might have support available for you. To check if you are eligible for Free School Meals (eFSM) and School Essentials Grant (SEG) which includes support for uniform, sports equipment and devices, visit:
Free School Meals (cardiff.gov.uk)

You can also call the Adviceline on 029 2087 1071 or pop into one of our Hubs.

Many schools in Cardiff run uniform recycling schemes and other uniform donation initiatives are run across the city such as charity, A Better Fit.

For more information, visit:
Find out about free school meals | GOV.WALES

Cardiff Council currently has a range of support for people struggling with cost-of-living pressures. This includes assistance with obtaining food, advice on winter fuel bills, help with rent arrears and much more. We encourage anyone experiencing difficulties at the moment to get in touch with our Money Advice Team on 029 2087 1071, email advicehub@cardiff.gov.uk, pop into any Hub or visit www.cardiff.gov.uk/costofliving