Posted: Mon 20th May 2024

(Updated) Mystery if Wrexham Council reaching all eligible pupils ahead of September’s free school meals target for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Update: Wrexham Council have responded after this article was published to answer the question! Cllr Phil Wyn, Lead Member for Education said : “We have had a successful roll out of the UPFSM with the scheme rolled out to all eligible year groups back in September 2023.”

Original article below…

The First Minister has announced that over 20 million additional meals have been served since the rollout of universal free meals to all primary pupils in Wales began in September 2022.

All primary school children and more than 6,000 nursery-age pupils attending a maintained school will be eligible for free meals by September 2024.

However there is mystery if Wrexham Council are reaching all eligible pupils ahead of target.

Welsh Government say “new figures now show 19 of Wales’ 22 local authorities are already reaching all eligible pupils – ahead of the September target”. asked Welsh Government for those figures, but was told they were not publishing that information at this stage.

We reasked pointing out we were trying to discover if Wrexham, or any of the six North Wales local authorities were one of the 19 meeting targets or the three that were not.

We had no further reply. went local, and asked Wrexham Council if the figures were possible from the council end, or a comment on them was possible.

We had no reply.

The Welsh Government issued the below press release, noteable before the co-op agreement fell apart, as it also includes a comment from Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth.

We will update this story if and when we discover if Wrexham Council are hitting the target or not.

£260m of Welsh Government funding was committed to implement universal free school meals, which included £60m of capital funding to support improvements to school kitchen facilities, including purchasing equipment and updating digital systems.

First Minister Vaughan Gething said:

“Universal free school meals for primary-age pupils has been transformational in keeping much-needed money in families’ pockets during these tough times.

“Within my priorities for government, I committed to making sure we do everything we can to see young people grow up feeling happy and hopeful for the future.

“At the heart of our mission is to lift children out of poverty, especially when the cost-of-living crisis has put extraordinary pressure on families across Wales.

“No child should go hungry, and thanks to the hard work of our local authorities and our schools, more and more children are being provided with a free nutritional school dinner to help ensure they can concentrate on learning.”

The introduction of universal free school meals for primary school pupils is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“Universal free school meals in all of our primary schools is making a real difference to the lives of thousands of children and helping families across Wales at a time when the cost-of-living crisis is having a real impact.

“We have been able to make sure no child goes hungry by working together through the Co-operation Agreement and delivering where we have common ground, as the people of Wales expect us to.”

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