Wednesday, April 17, 2024

ACT serves up free school meals trial

The ACT Government is launching a pilot free meals program across five Canberra public schools.

Minister for Education, Yvette Berry says the Meals in Schools pilot – a 2020 ACT Labor election commitment – will provide students with free breakfast and lunch three days a week.

Gilmore Primary School, Richardson Primary School, Narrabundah Early Childhood School, Gold Creek School (high school campus) and Melba Copland Secondary School senior campus (years 10-12) will take part in the $1.46 million pilot.

“We know our children and young people learn best on a full stomach. National and international research shows that students benefit from access to healthy and nutritious food at school. It improves students’ learning and wellbeing, gives them a better understanding of nutrition and increases their satisfaction with school,” said Minister Berry.

“The Meals in Schools pilot will be delivered in collaboration with school communities, including Parents & Citizens Associations. Teachers, students, parents and carers will have the opportunity over the next few months to help design delivery of the pilot in their school, to ensure it meets the needs of their school community.”

The roll out of delivery in schools will start from term 3 this year, with the pilot set to run for 18 months.

“We anticipate there will be a range of different food delivery models,” said Minister Berry.

“For example, a grab-and-go option may work better for senior students.”

An independent evaluation process will track student uptake, the impact of free school meals on student satisfaction and the effectiveness of food delivery.

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