Publication - Statistics

Attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living: summary statistics

Published: 9 Sep 2019
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education, Statistics
ISBN:
9781839601408

Results of the initial and follow-up leaver destination surveys (S3 to S6), post-review attainment, school meals and physical education.

Contents
Attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living: summary statistics
Chapter 5: School meals

Chapter 5: School meals

  • 37.4 per cent (254,923) of pupils were registered for free school meals (37.6 per cent in 2017).
  • Of those registered for free school meals and present on the survey day 79.6 per cent took a free meal (81.0 per cent in 2017).
  • Of those pupils present on the survey day 55.6 per cent took a meal (free or paid for) supplied by the school (56.9 per cent in 2017).

In 2012, a new Healthy Living Survey was introduced which incorporated the old school meals survey and new questions on Physical Education. This is an annual survey, normally collected in February each year, from all publicly funded schools in Scotland. The school meal part of this survey collects information on the uptake of meals, both free and paid for, and registration for and uptake of free school meals. Only meals taken at lunchtime are included. Breakfast clubs are not included. The latest Healthy Living survey was conducted in the week beginning 19 February 2018.

Information on levels of free school meal registration and school meal uptake is used to monitor the impact of Scottish Government policies around reducing deprivation and promoting healthy eating. In recent years, the Government has taken two actions intended to extend free school meal eligibility. These are:

  • The extension of free school meal eligibility to include all children in primary 1-3 from January 2015.
  • The extension of free school meal eligibility in August 2009 to include children whose parents or carers are in receipt of both maximum child tax credit and maximum working tax credit.

For the purposes of this collection it is assumed that all P1-P3 pupils are registered for free school meals.

  • In 2018 37.4 per cent of the total school roll was registered for free school meals, which is similar to the 37.6 per cent registered in 2017.
  • The percentage of pupils present on the survey day who took a meal (free or paid for) supplied by the school decreased from 56.9 per cent in 2017 to 55.6 per cent in 2018 (Table 9a).
  • The percentage of P1-P3 pupils present on the survey day who took a free school meal decreased from 81.2 per cent in 2017 to 79.6 per cent in 2018.
  • The total number of P1-P3 pupils taking a free school meal decreased by 3,841 from 134,042 in 2017 to 130,201 in 2018 (Table 9b).

As the national criteria for free school meal eligibility is largely based on the receipt of benefits, statistics on free school meal registrations from the Healthy Living Survey have been used as a measure of deprivation. However, several factors need to be taken into account when using the statistics in this way, particularly for primary and special schools. See background notes for more information on the use of these statistics as a measure of deprivation.

As an alternative to using the percentage of pupils registered for free school meals as a measure of deprivation, statistics on the percentage of pupils in each school who live in the 20 per cent most deprived data zones in Scotland are now available in the school contact list: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/Datasets/contactdetails

School meals data by Urban Rural classification, size of school and local authority are available in the supplementary tables. A list of the tables available is in the background notes section. School level information on school meals is also available. This can be found at the following address: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/SchoolMealsDatasets

Table 9a: Number and percentage of pupils taking school meals (free or paid for) and registered for and taking free school meals by sector, 2013 to 2018

Number
Pupils registered for free meals 2013a 2014b 2015c,d 2016 2017 2018e,f
Primary 81,364 77,791 213,199 212,175 212,235 210,906
Secondary 45,018 44,224 41,744 39,280 38,841 39,511
Special 4,203 4,373 4,498 3,681 4,155 4,506
Total 130,585 126,388 259,441 255,136 255,231 254,923
Pupils registered and present taking free meals
Primary 65,717 63,986 162,799 166,454 165,027 160,323
Secondary 28,249 27,739 26,264 24,811 23,911 23,937
Special 3,576 3,719 3,607 2,899 3,418 3,466
Total 97,542 95,444 192,670 194,164 192,356 187,726
Pupils present and taking meals (free or paid for)
Primary 186,271 192,666 237,404 246,821 246,162 237,315
Secondary 113,587 115,150 111,562 114,586 110,288 110,364
Special 5,204 5,206 4,875 4,511 4,375 4,663
Total 305,062 313,022 353,841 365,918 360,825 352,342
Percentage
Pupils registered for free meals 2013a 2014b 2015c,d 2016 2017 2018e,f
Primary 22.0 20.6 55.3 54.1 53.4 52.7
Secondary 15.5 15.5 15.0 14.2 14.1 14.4
Special 59.4 60.7 63.0 55.7 66.2 66.1
Total 19.6 18.8 38.7 37.8 37.6 37.4
Pupils registered and present taking free meals
Primary 88.4 88.7 80.5 82.7 82.1 80.5
Secondary 74.7 76.6 76.4 73.9 73.4 72.8
Special 94.7 94.8 90.3 89.8 91.3 87.1
Total 84.2 85.0 80.1 81.5 81.0 79.6
Pupils present and taking meals (free or paid for)
Primary 53.2 53.2 64.6 66.0 65.0 62.4
Secondary 43.7 44.4 44.2 45.8 44.3 44.6
Special 83.1 81.7 78.0 77.7 78.0 77.8
Total 49.5 49.8 56.5 58.1 56.9 55.6

a. In 2013, the Healthy Living Survey was carried out in March due to publicity around the presence of horse meat in some food products.
b. In 2014, primary school free meal registrations were affected by a reduction in the number of local authorities with local initiatives.
c. On 5 January 2015, the Scottish Government launched the extension of free school meals eligibility to include all children in P1-P3.
d. Figures on percentage uptake that were originally published were amended in June 2016. See background notes for details.
e. Figures for 2018 exclude Jordanhill. Please see section 7.3 of background notes for details
f. In September 2019, the 2018 figures for Edinburgh and North Lanarkshire were amended. PE data was not effected. See section 7.3 of background notes for further details.

Table 9b: Primary pupils taking school meals (free or paid for) and registered for and taking free school meals by sector, 2013 to 2018

Number
2013a 2014b 2015c,d 2016 2017 2018e,f
Pupils registered for free meals
P1-P3 # # 172,284 172,912 173,020 172,163
P4-P7 # # 40,915 39,263 39,215 38,743
Total Primary (P1-P7) 81,364 77,791 213,199 212,175 212,235 210,906
Pupils registered and present taking free meals
P1-P3 # # 129,674 134,667 134,042 130,201
P4-P7 # # 33,125 31,787 30,985 30,122
Total Primary (P1-P7) 65,717 63,986 162,799 166,454 165,027 160,323
Pupils present and taking meals (free or paid for)
P1-P3 # # 129,674 134,667 134,042 130,201
P4-P7 # # 107,730 112,154 112,120 107,114
Total Primary (P1-P7) 186,271 192,666 237,404 246,821 246,162 237,315
Percentage
2013a 2014b 2015c,d 2016 2017 2018e,f
Pupils registered for free meals
P1-P3 # # 100 100 100.0 100.0
P4-P7 # # 19.2 17.9 17.5 17.0
Total Primary (P1-P7) 22.0 20.6 55.3 54.1 53.4 52.7
Pupils registered and present taking free meals
P1-P3 # # 78.9 81.7 81.2 79.6
P4-P7 # # 87.5 87.3 86.2 84.9
Total Primary (P1-P7) 88.4 88.7 80.5 82.7 82.1 80.5
Pupils present and taking meals (free or paid for)
P1-P3 # # 78.9 81.7 81.2 79.6
P4-P7 # # 53.1 53.7 52.4 49.5
Total Primary (P1-P7) 53.2 53.2 64.6 66.0 65.0 62.4

a. In 2013, the Healthy Living Survey was carried out in March due to publicity around the presence of horse meat in some food products.
b. In 2014, primary school free meal registrations were affected by a reduction in the number of local authorities with local initiatives.
c. On 5 January 2015, the Scottish Government launched the extension of free school meals eligibility to include all children in P1-P3.
d. Figures on percentage uptake that were originally published were amended in June 2016. See background notes for details.
e. Figures for 2018 exclude Jordanhill. Please see section 7.3 of background notes for details
f. In September 2019, the 2018 figures for Edinburgh and North Lanarkshire were amended. PE data was not effected. See section 7.3 of background notes for further details.


Contact

Email: school.stats@gov.scot