Parliamentary Question: Social Protection
Posted July 19th, 2011 in Children, Dáil Work, Education, PQs, Social Protection
To ask the Minister for Social Protection the schemes and funding she offers to fund the provision of school meals in primary and post-primary schools; if she intends to extend the school meals programme and reduce eligibility thresholds; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
- Simon Harris.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 19th July, 2011.
R E P L Y
Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D.):
The School Meals Programme operated by my Department gives funding towards the provision of food services for disadvantaged children through two schemes. The first is the statutory Urban School Meals scheme, operated by local authorities and part-financed by the Department. The second is the School Meals Local Projects Scheme through which funding is provided directly to participating schools and local and voluntary groups who run their own school meals projects.
Funding under the School Meals local Projects Scheme is for food costs only and is subject to certain conditions. All food must be of suitable quality and nutritional value, and prepared and consumed in an appropriate environment. The type and range of meals provided, as well as the method and logistics of supplying the meals, are decided by the individual local groups and schools that operate the project. Responsibility for all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the scheme lies with the school/group.
The budget allocation for the School Meals Programme for 2011 is €35m. Expenditure on the programme in 2010 amounted to € 34.96m.
Priority for funding under the Scheme is given to schools which are part of the Department of Education and Skill’s initiative for disadvantaged schools, ‘Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools’ (DEIS). DEIS schools may apply for funding for all pupils, if they feel such a need exists. However, there is no entitlement to funding and all applications must be considered in light of the available budget for the scheme.
There are no plans to extend the School Meals Programme further or to amend the eligibility thresholds of the scheme at the present time.