Written answers

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

School Meals Programme

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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66. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for the expansion of the school meals programmes, both the urban schools meals scheme and the school meals local projects scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57602/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,506 schools and organisations benefitting 230,000 children. The objective of the programme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

A budget of €65.1 million has been provided for the scheme in 2021.

The Programme provides funding towards food services for disadvantaged school children through two schemes: The urban school meals scheme and the school meals (local projects) scheme. The Urban School Meals Scheme for primary schools is operated and administered by local authorities and is part-financed by my department. 44,095 students in 301 primary schools benefit from the Urban School Meals Scheme. 188 of these schools also benefit from the local projects scheme.

The school meals (local projects) scheme provides funding towards the provision of food to schools and organisations. 214,574 students in 1,393 schools and organisations benefit from the school meals (local projects) scheme. Funding under the school meals (local projects) scheme can be provided for breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, hot meals and afterschool clubs and is based on a maximum rate per child per day, depending on the type of meal being provided e.g. €1.40 per child per day where a cold lunch club is being provided, €1.90 per child per day where a dinner club is being provided and €2.90 per child per day where a Hot Meal club is being provided. Dinner clubs provide a hot meal, but are different from the Hot Meals clubs, in that they tend to be provided by schools with onsite cooking facilities whereas food for Hot Meals clubs is cooked offsite and either delivered hot or reheated in the school.

In recent years entry to the School Meals Scheme has been confined to DEIS schools in addition to schools identified as having levels of concentrated disadvantage that would benefit from access to the School Meals Programme.

Prior to the introduction of DEIS in 2005, all schools and organisations that were part of one of a number of Department of Education and Skills’ initiatives for disadvantaged schools were eligible to participate in the programme, which included Breaking the Cycle, Giving Children an Even Break, the Disadvantaged Area Scheme, Home School Community Liaison and the School Completion Programme. These schools and organisations have continued to remain in the scheme since the introduction of DEIS in 2005 but their level of funding has been capped at the same rate year on year to allow for the concentration of the scheme on DEIS schools.

As part of Budget 2019, funding was provided for a pilot scheme from September 2019, providing hot school meals in primary schools at a cost of €1m for 2019 and €2.5m in 2020. The pilot involved 37 schools benefitting 6,744 students for the 2019/2020 academic year and was aimed primarily at schools with no onsite cooking facilities.

In Budget 2021, I announced that an additional €5.5m would be provided to extend the provision of hot school meals to an additional 35,000 primary school children, currently receiving the cold lunch option. My Department issued invitations for expressions of interest to 705 primary schools in November 2020. A total of 281 expressions of interest were received in respect of 52,148 children.

The 35,000 places were allocated to each local authority area based on the number of children applied by local authority as a percentage of the total number. A minimum of one School for each Local Authority area was selected. Thereafter, a process of random selection was used for each area.

Budget 2022 is providing for the hot school meals to be extended from January 2022 to the 81 DEIS schools that submitted an expression of interest but were not selected in the extension to 35,000.

The 81 schools are listed in the attached tabular statement.

Participation in the scheme is entirely voluntary. Schools and organisations must reapply for funding in advance of each school year and are required to submit detailed records at the end of the school year. Applications are accepted from individual schools and organisations as well as organisations such as School Completion Programmes who apply for multiple schools. The application process for 2021/2022 is still open.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular Statement: The 81 DEIS Schools being invited to participate in the Hot Meals Scheme from January 2022

Identifier Organisation Name County
01356U Kilnaleck Mixed National School CAVAN
03220F Mercy Primary School OFFALY
03633H Scoil Náisiúnta Bhantiarna Lourdes WEXFORD
03928D Mullach National School CLARE
04809A Scoil An Aingil Choimheadai DONEGAL
05348S Tahilla Community National School KERRY
05513H Castlepollard Mixed National School WESTMEATH
06959G Clonroche National School Wexford
06998Q St Patrick's National School Cavan
08143P S N Mhuire CAVAN
08221J St Senans National School Wexford
09932B Stanhope St Convent DUBLIN 7
11470B Slieveardagh National School TIPPERARY
11986N Convent Of Mercy WEXFORD
13271F Fairgreen National School CAVAN
13611D Presentation Primary School DUBLIN
13696O St Vincent’s Convent National School CORK
14704P Murroe National School Donegal
14873P Dookinella National School MAYO
15027E S N Na Heaglaise GALWAY
15253N St Patrick's Girls National School Dublin 4
15362S S N Michil Naofa TIPPERARY
16054M St Patrick's National School DONEGAL
16108J Scoil Naomh Treasa C DONEGAL
16202B Castleblayney Convent National School MONAGHAN
16713D Scoil Na Mbraithre Limerick
16836T Naomh Bridhid DONEGAL
16880W Scoil Naomh Colmchille Donegal
17105I Muire Gan Smal C Cork
17356K Muire Na Dea Coirle Inf DUBLIN 12
17498H S N Naomh Sheosamh Tipperary
17606H Naomh Micheal N S Westmeath
17665A S N Gleann Guail TIPPERARY
17737W Our Lady Queen Of Peace School Limerick
17743R Naomh Muire National School WESTMEATH
18086M Dunfanaghy National School Donegal
18343G S N Chaoimhghin TIPPERARY
18371L Scoil Mhuire DONEGAL
18406E S N Phroinsiais Naofa OFFALY
18414D S N Gleann Beithe KERRY
18605K Scoil Naomh Padraig Boys DONEGAL
18737E Scoil Bhride DONEGAL
18786R Scoil Iosagain CORK
18968A St Malachy's B N S DUBLIN 5
19352M Sc Nais Realta Na Mara WEXFORD
19438W Scoil Colmcille Senior Co. Dublin
19515O Sn Naomh Treasa Dublin
19577N Scoil Iosa DUBLIN 24
19582G Tallaght C N S Dublin
19605P Scoil Nais Mhuire Sois Dublin 15
19642V St Peter Apostle Sen National School Dublin
19662E St Michael's National School DUBLIN 10
19663G St Raphael's National School DUBLIN 10
19694R Scoil Mhuire Sin DUBLIN 15
19743E St Bernadette's Junior National School Dublin 22
19747M Scoil Bhride National School LAOIS
19764M Our Lady Of Wayside National School DUBLIN 12
19785U St Bernadette's Senior National School Dublin 22
19809I Abbeycarton National School ROSCOMMON
19830W Corpus Christi National School LIMERICK
19840C Holy Family School Co. Dublin
19909M Gaelscoil Peig Sayers CORK
19929S St Brigid's Senior Girls DUBLIN 11
19933J Scoil Treasa Naofa Dublin 8
19935N Scoil Eoin Dublin 5
19946S Rutland National School DUBLIN 1
19977G Bandon Boys National School Cork
20036J North Presentation Primary School CORK
20091R St Peters National School DUBLIN
20124G St Mary's National School LONGFORD
20163Q S.N Eoin Baiste LOUTH
20173T St Anne's Primary School DUBLIN 24
20219R St Paul's B N S WATERFORD
20220C Gaelscoil Ui Earcain Dublin
20275E Scoil Íosa MAYO
20295K Carlow Educate Together National School CARLOW
20303G Lucan East Educate Together National School DUBLIN
20389T Scoil Maria Assumpta Cork
20405O St Mary's National School Limerick
20467N St Ailbe's National School Tipperary
20468P St Dominic's National School Dublin


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