Education / More than 400 free breakfasts a day being given out in Shetland secondary schools

AROUND 450 free breakfasts are being served every day for young people in Shetland’s secondary schools.

The initiative launched last year as a trial and has since been expanded into break times, as well as before the school day starts.

Shetland Islands Council confirmed in February that the trial would run until the end of term.

It had been funded by the Scottish Government’s Islands Emergency Cost Crisis Fund.

Kitchen staff in high schools and junior high schools in Shetland are providing a hot drink, a choice of cereals, toast and fruit for secondary pupils.

Speaking at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee on Monday, Shetland North councillor Tom Morton asked whether the high uptake was a “worrying sign” of pressures some parents find themselves under with the cost of living.

The Labour member also asked if there was research on the effect of schemes like these. “You can’t learn on an empty stomach,” he said.


Children services director Helen Budge said there are studies that show the benefits of breakfasts – but she raised the suggestion of Shetland youngsters being surveyed on their experience of receiving free breakfasts.

She said there was not much of an uptake to begin with but the expansion saw more pupils join in.

There is monitoring of the uptake of free school meals in schools.

“We really see the benefit of the use of that funding,” Budge said.

Council leader Emma Macdonald said she hopes that the funding from the government continues into the future.

“I think it’s really important that as a council we make sure the Scottish Government know how valued that money was to the community,” she said.

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