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Best Start for Children - School Nutrition

High Level Summary of Statistics Trend Last update: June 2017

School Nutrition

This high level summary page is no longer being updated. Please follow the below links to reach the most recent publications and datasets. The statistics for this topic can be found in the Summary Statistics for Attainment, Leaver Destinations and Healthy Living publication, the Schools meals and PE, supplementary dataset and the School meals, school level dataset.


School meals (free or purchased)
  • Of those pupils present on the survey day, 56.9 per cent took a meal supplied by the school, compared to 58.1 per cent in 2016
  • 44.3 per cent of the pupils who were present on the survey day took a meal in secondary schools up from 39.2 per cent in 2009.
Free school meals
  • In 2017, across all sectors, 37.6 per cent (255,231 pupils) of the total school roll were registered for free school meals. In 2016, 37.8% of pupils were registered for free school meals
  • Of those registered and present, 81.0 per cent took a free school meal on the survey day, down from 81.5 per cent in 2016

School Meals 2017

All authorities are included. A trial took place in 2008, providing free school meals to all pupils in P1- P3. This affects the  comparability of school meal uptake in the period 2007-2009.
In August 2010, local initiatives at local authority level increased eligibility for free school meals.