Created on: 07 Sep 2022 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023
The EIS has written to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, calling for urgent action on the rollout of universal free school meals to mitigate against the impact of poverty in light of the growing cost of living crisis.
The letter, from EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley, comes as the Scottish Government prepares its emergency budgetary response to the cost of living crisis.
In the letter, Ms Bradley says, “I write on behalf of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland’s largest teacher trade union, to urge the Scottish Government once more to make urgent provision for all children and young people’s guaranteed access to food during the school day and holiday periods.”
“That the Scottish Government is preparing a budgetary response to the current cost of living emergency, which we know is driving hundreds of thousands more families into poverty, underscores the indisputable need for swift action to ensure that every child and young person attending school can be provided daily with at least one school meal, or with the means to buy one should the current school meal infrastructure demand an alternative means of mustering an emergency response.”
“Whilst it is understood that the Scottish Government had planned a phased approach to the expansion of universal free school meals for Primary-aged pupils and the trialling of such provision in Secondary, the EIS is of the view now more than ever, that stigma-free access to food during the school day and holiday periods for all children and young people, including those from P6 to S6, has to be one of the emergency measures that Scotland takes.”
The letter concludes, “Scotland can and must be a beacon of human decency in the midst of this cost of living emergency and in the face of a newly configured Westminster government which seems to care nothing for ordinary people or their children, least of all those in Scotland.”
“The EIS implores the Scottish Government to find a way to accelerate access to food during the school day and over holiday periods, for all children and young people.”
A copy of the letter from Ms Bradley to Ms Sturgeon is available here, for information.