These results have been calculated using information from the annual survey of school meals collected from education authorities in Scotland in January 2000.
The main findings are:
- At January 2000, 22 per cent of primary pupils and 17 per cent of secondary pupils were recorded as being entitled to free meals in education authority schools
- Actual uptake of free meals amongst pupils present on census day (16 per cent) was lower than the recorded level of entitlement of pupils on the register (20 per cent)
- Glasgow City had the highest percentage (42 per cent) of pupils recorded as being entitled to free meals compared to Aberdeenshire who had the lowest at 6 per cent
- 87 per cent of pupils present on census day took meals in the Shetland Islands compared with the national average of 47 per cent
Table 1 - Pupils on the register of education authority schools: Number and percentage of pupils recorded as being entitled to free meals by sector, 1994-95 to 1999-00.
Table 2 - Pupils present in education authority schools on census day: Pupils present taking meals by sector, 1994-95 to 1999-00.
Table 3 - Pupils on the register of education authority schools: Number and percentage of pupils recorded as being entitled to free meals by education authority and sector, 1999-00.
Table 4 - Pupils present in education authority schools on census day: Pupils present taking meals, by education authority 1999-00.
1. A survey of school meals provided by education authorities has been carried out annually since 1982-83. The survey is conducted in the spring of each year. In January 2000 around 95 per cent of primary and 88 per cent of secondary pupils on schools registers were present on census day, a slight increase compared to the previous year.
2. The data for the years 1994-95 to 1997-98 for primary schools may include some nursery pupils attending primary schools, who were unable to be separately identified in recording those entitled to free school meals and taking meals. The provision of free school meals is not compulsory within the pre-school education sector, therefore no information has been collected since 1998-99 from centres of pre-school education.
3. This information is used in calculating the distribution of grant support to local authorities and for target setting. In order to improve the quality of the data, local authorities were issued with agreed guidance to allow for an estimate for those pupils who they believed to be entitled to free school meals, but were not recorded as such on their systems.
4. Changes in the way school meal data is reported by Local Authorities has caused some inconsistency in the results between years and between different local authorities.
5. Under Section 53(3) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, education authorities had a duty to provide school meals in the middle of the day and free of charge to a pupil whose parents were in receipt of Income Support, or who was him/her self in receipt of income support. Effective from 7 October 1996, section 41(4) of, and paragraph 5 of Schedule 2 to, the Jobseekers Act 1995 amended section 53(3) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. This amendment meant that education authorities have a duty to provide meals free of charge to a pupil whose parents are in receipt of income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance (payable under the Jobseekers Act 1995) or who is him/her self in receipt of that benefit.