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The benefits of free school meals

It was good to see free school meals highlighted in last week's leader "Free meals are the way to health". The Association of Head Teachers and Deputes in Scotland has been a supporter of the Campaign for Free School Meals for some time.

The arguments for the introduction of free school meals, while focussed on improving health and reducing poverty, go further than the long-term goal of improving the health of the nation. The introduction of free school meals would also deliver child safety and educational benefits.

The benefits in terms of child safety would be that there would be no reason for children to leave the premises during the course of the school day. In relation to improving education, the campaign highlights evidence which suggests that providing nutritious food at school improves cognition, attendance and classroom behaviour.

I hope we will see more from The TES Scotland on this important issue.

Greg Dempster

General secretary. Association of Heads and Deputes in Scotland

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