Two schools from Mayo have been selected among 36 schools nationally to take part in the Hot School Meals Pilot Project that was announced by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, this week.
The Mayo schools taking part in the pilot project are, S N Realt Na Mara, Mulranny and S N Achaidh An Ghlaisin, Belmullet. The initiative will provide a hot meal to primary school children on a pilot basis from September.
This pilot scheme for hot school dinners was announced by the Minister during Budget 2019, when she said that the initiative would be trialled in schools from September 2019.
The pilot project aims to build on the experience of the proof-of-concept project which has been running at Our Lady of Lourdes National School in Goldenbridge, Inchicore, Dublin 8, since the beginning of the year. During this initial trial, almost 250 pupils attending the school received a hot meal at lunchtime each day and the initiative has been well received.
Minister Doherty said: "A hot school meal is not just about nutrition but it also guarantees a better education. The research out there shows us that children who benefit from a daily nutritious hot dinner have greater focus and better learning outcomes.
"I would like to thank all the schools who applied for the pilot – we had an enthusiastic response. I am delighted to be extending this pilot to the 36 schools announced today. They represent a good cross sample of schools and I look forward to the insights we gather from their experiences.”
The composition of schools selected for the pilot was made to ensure a proper variety of school sizes, a mixture of urban and rural and DEIS and non-DEIS Schools to ensure the best possible sample for the pilot.
Funding will be provided to schools to source suppliers while families will not be asked for additional contributions towards the meals. Each primary school participating in the pilot project will be expected to provide a menu choice of at least two different meals per day plus a Vegetarian/Vegan choice and an option that caters for students’ religious and cultural dietary requirements.