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Weir encourages parents of eligible children to apply for free school meals

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That was the message from Education Minister, Peter Weir as the new school year approaches.

The Minister said: “One of my Department’s aims is to raise standards in education and the importance of a healthy school meal in achieving this should not be underestimated. There is a recognised connection between healthy eating and improved learning and a nutritious school meal contributes to a young person’s growth and development.”

The ‘Food in Schools’ policy advocates a whole school approach to ensure that only healthy food is provided in schools and that young people develop the knowledge and skills to enable them to enjoy a healthy lifestyle as they progress through life.

Continuing the Minister said: “Eating a nutritious school meal can improve a child’s concentration, behaviour and their ability to learn in class. This ultimately leads to better educational outcomes. Parents have a role to play in encouraging healthy eating and embedding a lifelong habit that will ultimately lead to improved health in adult years.”

In 2015/16, 101,063 pupils were eligible for free school meals with 82,002 (81.1%) of eligible pupils availing of the service.

Further information is available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/nutrition-and-school-lunches

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