Extension of Free School Meals for P1 to P3 – Question and Answer

You may be aware that from January 2015, children in Primary 1 to 3 across Scotland will have the option of taking a free school meal every day. City of Edinburgh Council has put together some questions and answers to address some of the questions you may have.


What and When
Who is entitled?
* All pupils in Primary 1 to Primary 3 are entitled to a free school meal
When does this start?
* Tuesday 6th of January 2015
I know some pupils are entitled to free milk in school; does this apply to all P1 to P3 pupils from January?
* No, only those currently entitled to Free School Milk will continue to receive milk
Will there be hot meals on a Friday?
* No, we will continue to provide a packed lunch option on a Friday only. This has been checked with Scottish Government and they are happy with this provision. In schools where a hot meal is currently served on a Friday this will continue.

Do I need to sign my child up for school meals?
* No, all pupils in P1 to P3 are automatically entitled
Does my child need to take a meal every day to qualify for free school meals or can I choose which days they go?
* You can choose to go every day or just a few days each week, whatever suits your child, as long as you inform the school
I know the school dining room is already busy, how will you manage to feed more children?
* We have carried out surveys with all schools to assess their capacity. Many schools do not need to make any changes, however where required, we are putting arrangements in place to accommodate the increase in numbers. These include changes to serving counters to increase speed of service, additional seating and increasing the number of sittings.
* If there are changes these will be communicated on a school by school basis.

Pre-Ordering Lunch
Some schools already pre-order their choices for lunch in advance and we are hoping to implement this in all our schools prior to January 2015. (At Sciennes, lunches are already booked online using Wisepay.)
Why do I have to order in advance?
* We are implementing a pre-order system for school lunches in all our schools to help us manage the process and ensure that all pupils receive their first choice of main meal when they come for lunch.
My child won’t remember what they ordered, how is this managed?
* Schools have a note of each child’s choice and issue coloured bands or tokens to identify what choice each pupil has made. This means that pupils don’t have to remember what they have chosen and also speeds up the service.
* For example; red token for the hot meat choice, green for the hot vegetarian choice and blue for the baked potato choice.
* Each school manages this slightly differently and details are available from your child’s school.
What if I forget to order, will my child still get a meal?
* On these odd occasions we will still be able to provide a meal however, we encourage everyone to ensure they have ordered their meal in advance.
* In some instances it is the school’s policy only to provide a baked potato for those who have not pre-ordered. Those who have pre-ordered will have first choice.
How can I order at school?
* Our school has a pre-order system called Wisepay for school lunches. This allows the catering team to produce the correct number of meals so pupils receive their first choice of main meal, speeds up service and helps reduce food waste. If your child/ children have not taken meals before, please see detailsa about ordering using Wisepay here: http://www.sciennes.ik.org/p_Wisepay.ikml

WINTER LUNCH MENU runs from after the October break until the Easter holidays.

Special Diets
We have a special diet policy in place and if your child requires a special diet or has any allergies then you should complete and return a special diet request form from the school office.
Do you cater for special diets?
* Where possible we can provide information on our meals to allow pupils to take school meals. For example: Carbohydrate information for diabetic pupils
* Some adaptations can be made to some dishes to ensure they are suitable for pupils with special diets. For example: coeliac
My child has allergies – will they be able to take school meals?
* From December 2015 we will be providing information on each of our menu choices to indicate where the 14 identifiable allergens are present.
* This information will be available on the council website, school website and also in the school kitchen.

City of Edinburgh Special Diet Policy 


Dietary requirement guidelines
The City of Edinburgh’s Children and Families Department, in partnership with our catering providers Direct Catering and Cleaning (DCC), Amey and Mitie recognise the need to provide special diets where required on the basis of religious requirements, cultural/ethical reasons or on the basis of medical conditions (as recommended by a doctor or dietician). Please note, requests for certain items not based on the reasons above will not usually be catered for.

Parents/carers, young people, staff from the Children and Families Department and catering each have a role and responsibility in ensuring awareness and provision of a special diet. These can be identified as follows:

Responsibilities of parents/carers or young people
The parent/carers or young person should request a special diet form from the school where available or put a request in writing to the appropriate establishment.
All completed forms or written requests should be given to the establishment as soon possible.
In the case of a request based on a medical condition, a letter must be attached from a registered dietician or doctor.

Responsibilities of Children and Families Department staff
Staff within Children and Families establishments should ensure that information relating to the dietary requirement policy is contained within any relevant information literature available for where a food service is provided.
Staff should ensure that supplies of the special diet form are available.
Staff should ensure that on receipt of a completed form or written request that a photocopy is made and sent to the kitchen and catering head office, where applicable. A copy should be retained by the Children and Families establishment.
Where necessary other staff within the establishment must be informed of severe food allergies.

Responsibilities of Caterers
Catering provider must have documented policy and procedures in place relating to special dietary provision.
On receiving the special diet referral form from the school/ parent the provider should record details of special dietary needs and follow company procedures.