Think you know School Meals?
School meals in Wales have never before been so nutritious and varied. Here in Blaenau Gwent we feed thousands of primary and secondary pupils every day, in addition to staff and visitors.
In line with Welsh Government standards we have reduced fat, sugar and salt in our recipes, and increased fibre and fruit and vegetable consumption, amongst many other improvements. We care, and our school meals can be trusted to contribute significantly to our young people’s healthy diets.
But making the food we provide in schools healthier has only been half the battle. Young people have to want to eat them and this has been achieved with hard work and enthusiasm by all the schools’ catering teams across Blaenau Gwent, and, of course, the valued input from our pupils.
All primary school pupils from Reception (including full-time Nursery children) in Blaenau Gwent are now entitled to a Free School Meal every day.
This is being funded by the Welsh Government in response to the rising cost-of-living pressures on families and a shared ambition of tackling child poverty and ensuring no child goes hungry in school. There are also wider benefits of free school meals, including promoting healthy eating across the school, increasing the variety of food learners can eat, improving social skills at mealtimes, as well as improving behaviour and attainment. The policy is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.
There is no registration needed, your child will just need to state whether they require a school meal in registration at the start of the school day.
Even if you receive a Universal Free School Meal for your child, you should still apply for Free School Meals if you are eligible due to financial circumstances as this may entitle you to other benefits e.g. support with purchasing school uniform. Applying for Free School Meals may also provide your child’s school with access to additional funding that could be used to provide extra support and resources. Find out if you are eligible for this extra support here.
What you can expect to see in our schools:
• Fruit daily
• Vegetables and/or salad daily
• Fruit based desserts at least twice each week
• Fish each week
• Oily fish at least twice in 3 weeks
• Meat cuts at least twice a week in our primary schools and three times each week in secondary schools
• No added salt
• Removal of all confectionery, such as chocolate bars, cereal bars and sweets; and also crisps
• Limited potato and potato products cooked in fat or oil (not more than twice each week)
• Limited deep fried or flash fried food (not more than twice each week)
• Restricted processed meat products
• Fruit tuck shops in our primary schools
• Free milk for all nursery and infant pupils
• Free healthy breakfast in the majority of our primary schools
• Promotion of milk and water as best for dental health
Nutrition aside, school meals offer many other benefits:
• Convenience - time saved in the mornings by not having to prepare a packed lunch, and no worries over keeping food fresh and safe until lunchtime
• The chance to try new foods
• Fuelling children’s concentration and ability to perform well at school
• Promoting children’s social skills, table manners and ability to make informed meal choices in a safe, supervised environment with friends
• Enjoyment of fun theme menus such as a St David's Day special
• Great value for money
School Meals v Packed Lunches
Time for a rethink on packed lunches? Research carried out by University of Leeds did not paint a positive picture of the nutritional content of packed lunches versus school meals, with less than 2% of packed lunches meeting school meals standards, with recorded worsening levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and zinc over the years.
In direct contrast, our primary menus are nutritionally analysed by our teams’ dietitian to ensure menus offer 1/3 of pupils’ daily requirements for energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, fibre, protein, iron, zinc, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, sodium.
Time to reconsider?
The current prices for school meals in Blaenau Gwent are (daily):
Primary - £2.50
Secondary - £2.70
See our menus for all schools below.
For more information contact:
Tel: 07790544458 / 07970381669
To view our menus, please click on the relevant heading below:
Ebbw Fawr Primary
Six Bells Campus
St Illtyds Primary
Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg
Tillery Street Campus
Beaufort Hill Primary
All Saints Primary
St Joseph's Primary
St Mary's RC Primary
St Mary’s CIW