North Ayrshire Council’s ruling SNP Cabinet is this week expected to announce plans for the increased provision of school meals.
move comes after the SNP Scottish Government introduced free school
meals for every pupil in the first three years of primary school
(P1-P3). With the local Council also embarking on an initiative to
encourage more secondary pupils to have their lunchtime meal in school,
it is anticipated overall demand could increase by 2,000 meals per day.
To meet the additional demand, the SNP-run Council plans to increase
from 25 to 30 the number of kitchens cooking school meals in the
district, which would require the recruitment of an additional 36 new
members of staff (22 full-time-equivalent positions) by January 2015.
local schools have a range of groups linking to health and well-being
and are being asked to include discussions on measures to increase the
uptake of school meals, and to consider existing meal choices on their
healthy schools agenda. Each Secondary school has carried out a pupil
survey on school meals during May and June for pupils in years 1-3. The
outcomes of the survey will be analysed by Council officials and will
form the basis of developing the next phase of marketing and planning of
initiatives for 2014/15.
Over the past academic year, the uptake
of school meals in North Ayrshire was 46.7%, exceeding the local
authority target of 44%. School meals staff have also received a number
of external awards for their work.
Cooking facilities at Hayocks
Primary in Stevenston and Caledonia Primary in Saltcoats are expected
to be upgraded to ‘hub kitchen’ status as part of the initiative to be
announced this week, meaning they will take on the roll of preparing
meals for other schools in addition to serving their own pupils.
total cost to North Ayrshire Council of providing additional meals,
recruiting extra staff and upgrading kitchen facilities is expected to
come in at around £290,000, some of which will be met from funding
provided by the SNP Scottish Government.
In related news, Council
catering staff at the Tournament Cafe in Kilwinning’s Eglinton Park
last week picked up a prestigious prize at the UK-wide Local Authority
Catering Association Awards. The local workers took the Specialist
Catering Team award and were amongst the finalists in the Catering
Business of the Year Award.
Ardrossan councillor Tony Gurney,
North Ayrshire’s SNP Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure,
praised all catering staff employed by the local authority, saying the
latest award is “a reminder of just how wide the team's remit is - from
our award-winning school catering team's nutritious, healthy menus to
ensuring visitors to Eglinton Park can enjoy the highest quality of