Monica Invites Holy Cross High Pupils To Discuss Universal Free School Meals With Ministers

Image shows Monica Lennon MSP with Jenny Gilruth MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, with pupils from Holy Cross High School and youth activists from across Scotland standing on steps within the Scottish Parliament building.

Hamilton pupils gave leading politicians ‘food for thought’ at a Scottish Parliament summit aiming to speed up the rollout of universal free school meals.

The summit was organised by Monica, who has spearheaded the Holyrood campaign to extend free school meals to all primary and secondary pupils. Holy Cross High School was represented at the event by students from the Modern Studies Department.

At the round table meeting, students from across Scotland were able to share their thoughts with Education and Skills Secretary Jenny Gilruth, offering first hand insights into their experiences with free school meals, as well as presenting creative ideas on how to expand the programme.

While the Scottish Government has committed to free school meals for all, the rollout of the initiative has been plagued with delays. Children in primary one to primary five qualify but it is feared that primary six to primary seven could be delayed until late 2026.

A pilot scheme promised for secondary schools is yet to be launched. Holy Cross High School pupil representatives emphasised the need for expansion of the programme to students of all ages, so that older pupils don’t miss out.

The Scottish Government was represented by Education and Skills Secretary, Jenny Gilruth MSP. The former teacher promised to take the matter up with new First Minister, John Swinney, after hearing directly from trade union representatives, local government officials, children’s charities and young people about the urgent need to tackle hunger, poverty and behavioural issues in schools.

Speaking after the universal free school meals summit, Scottish Labour and Co-op MSP Monica Lennon said:

“Urgent action is necessary to tackle child food poverty in the classroom.

“The Scottish Parliament is united in supporting the rollout of universal free school meals.

“That’s why SNP ministers must listen to children and young people, as well as their families and teachers, who see the positive impact of universal free school meals on young learners

Action is needed now, because children are missing out on the vital policy that was promised to them.”