With pupils across the country preparing to go back to school, 7,495 pupils across North Ayrshire will be eligible for free school meals this year.

Throughout Scotland, over 250,000 pupils will be eligible for free school lunches – a figure that has doubled in the last three years.

Thanks to an SNP Government initiative in 2015, all primary 1-3 pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is of huge financial help to families.

Commenting, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, said:

“It’s fantastic that 7, 495 school pupils in North Ayrshire are eligible for free school meals – an integral part of ensuring that every child gets the best start in life and as much as possible out of their time in the classroom each day.

Guaranteeing our youngest pupils a healthy meal during the school day helps them to learn and can save families an estimated £380 a year.

This is just one of the steps the SNP Scottish Government is taking to tackle child poverty and help household incomes – and is an essential part of our central ambition to drive up standards in Scottish schools.

I wish teachers and pupils alike the best of luck as they start the new academic year.”