Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 12:46 UK

Putting the 'fun' into school meals

Close-up of school dinner
The head teacher said children had been encouraged to try new things

The Scottish Government has announced that a scheme to provide free school meals for younger pupils is to be rolled out across the country.

BBC Scotland has been hearing views from one of the schools which trialled the idea - Inzievar Primary School in Oakley, Fife.

"It's more fun now because if you're eating healthily you can get fitter and then you can go out and do healthy activities," said 11-year-old John Manderson.

His school piloted the free school meals for primary one to primary three pupils, which is now set to be adopted across Scotland.

He may be older than those who directly benefitted from the initiative, but he seemed to have enjoyed the experiment.

"It's encouraging me to eat healthier. I play football and I'm trying to get even fitter," he said.

Hot meal

Parents have also been positive about the scheme.

Lorraine Peden said 1.55 a day, per meal really added up for families - especially if there were two or three children involved.

She added: "We know that every kid is getting a hot meal. There's some kids that are going home to mums that are working, things like that - but you know that the kids are going to get a good, balanced, hot meal."

Others at the school noticed usually faddy eaters changing their ways.

We have mums who are quite amazed that their kids will come in and eat vegetables or salad
Ethel Musson
Head teacher

One said: "Harry has always had school meals, but he's eaten things like fish that he's never eaten before because the other kids are eating it."

Another mother added: "It should be made permanent, it's just such a brilliant idea. There's a lot of children who don't have a hot meal."

Those views were echoed by Ethel Musson, the head teacher of Inzievar Primary. The children have already been learning about healthy eating in class and school meals were a chance to see that in action.

She said: "We have mums who are quite amazed that their kids will come in and eat vegetables or salad, very happily.

"They do have a choice every day and that element of choice is quite important for children. Given a choice they will choose healthy foods."

In her view, seeing other children eat was important in encouraging children to try new things.

"As far as encouraging our children to have a healthy lifestyle, it was a very important aspect," she said.


SEE ALSO
Free meal plan for Scots pupils
02 Oct 08 |  Scotland


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