Free school meals initiative extended to Year 3 pupils at schools in Bridgend County Borough
From September 2023, approximately 1600 primary school pupils starting Year 3 will be offered a free school meal.
The offer, which coincides with the start of the new academic school year, follows the previous roll-out of free school meals to Reception pupils in September 2022, and to Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in April this year.
Over 4600 pupils in the county borough are now entitled to a universal primary free school meal, and it is hoped that the offer will be extended to Nursery school pupils in January 2024, Year 4 pupils in April 2024, and to Year 5 and Year 6 pupils in September 2024.
The scheme is part of the Welsh Government Universal Primary Free School Meals initiative, which was launched in 2022 to help families ease the burden of the cost-of-living crisis.
Parents and carers of Year 3 pupils are reminded that there is no need to complete an application, as pupils will automatically benefit from the provision.
Natasha's Law 2021
From 1 October 2021 new legislation known as Natasha’s Law came into force. The new legislation applies to any food business that would provide pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) food including primary and secondary schools, universities and nurseries that provide food.
For food provided within a school setting, this means changes to labelling of sandwiches and baguettes only, as these are made and pre-packaged on the premises before the consumer orders them. Allergenic ingredients must be emphasized within labelling list.
PPDS does not include food that is not in packaging. Food placed into packaging or plated at the consumers request is not PPDS.
Packed lunches that are made on school premises and are packed to order anticipation of an event, such as a school trip, are not PPDS.
Packed lunches contain multi items and customers need to access allergen information for each item on this website or access the allergen information via the school.
For just £2.20 per day, primary pupils receive a main meal, dessert and a cold drink.
In most primaries, pupils can choose from two tasty hot meal options as well as choices of salad. Nursery pupils have only one option, which is indicated on the primary school menu by an asterisk.
The menus are on a three week rotation. This ensures variety with a focus on fresh fruit, vegetables and salads. Due to our commitment to healthy eating, our ingredients have reduced saturated fat, sugar and salt. All foods are baked or steamed, except chips which are only served once a week. Fresh fruit, wholemeal bread, yoghurt, cheese and biscuits, ice cream, semi-skimmed milk and water are also available daily.
At secondary level pupils buy food in cafeterias. The cafeterias are known as ‘Trackers’ and they offer great value for money. There are three food areas or ‘tracks’ to choose from:
- The salad bar. This area serves fresh, healthy food like salad, pasta, sandwiches, hot or cold baguettes, tortilla wraps, jacket potatoes, fresh fruit and yoghurt, which are prepared daily
- Lite bites. This area has quick, hot, nutritious food. There are hot and cold filled baguettes, paninis, rolls, pizza, bagels, jacket potatoes, fresh fruit and yoghurt. It’s perfect for students attending lunchtime lessons or clubs
- Main meals. The menu changes every three weeks, and includes a vegetarian option. There are traditional roast days with Yorkshire puddings in rich gravy, as well as international dishes like chicken tikka. The main meal is served with pasta, rice or a choice of potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Chips are only available on Fridays.
Wake up bars. Most secondary schools have a ‘wake up bar’. These serve food such as toast, hot filled rolls and bowls of cereal before lessons start.
Mid-morning break. Comprehensive canteens serve hot or cold food and drinks during break time. It’s an ideal opportunity for grabbing a snack, as lunch can be as late as 1.30pm.
Vending Machines. These are found at most sites for use during and after school. They are full of healthy, nutritious foods like pasta pots, sandwiches and drinks.
Special ‘themed’ days are held throughout the year. These days are popular with children who enjoy trying different dishes from around the world, and the theme menu replaces the normal menu for the day.
Please note that our menus/food may contain allergens.
Click on the links below to download allergen information for our primary school menus:
Please click on the links below to download allergen information for our comprehensive school menus:
Special menus for allergic/food intolerant children
A menu plan can be created specifically for your child. Medical/dietetic information will be needed, and our nutritionally trained management team will work with you to prepare a suitable menu. We will inform your child’s school and catering team who will be told about the allergy/intolerance and receive the menu daily.
Examples of our special diet menus:
To discuss your child’s needs, contact Catering Services on 01656 815963, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Cashless catering’ gives parents and carers an alternative method of paying for school meals. It means pupils don’t have to take cash into school. Instead, it’s possible to pay through our website either via the ‘Pay It’ section, or below.
All primary schools in Bridgend County Borough participate, except:
- Penybont Primary
All secondary schools have Cashless Catering except:
- Cynffig Comprehensive School
- Porthcawl Comprehensive School
- Pencoed School
While Maesteg Comprehensive School has a Cashless Catering programme, it is not run through our system.
Schools register pupils’ free school meal eligibility on the system. This allows children to receive a free school lunch with anonymity. To take up the scheme:
- Check if your child is eligible for school meals.
- Contact your child’s school directly to arrange cashless catering.
- Then pay for school meals through our website.
This scheme provides free, healthy breakfasts every school day. Breakfast clubs run in all primary schools across Bridgend County Borough.
They serve cereal, toast, fruit wedges and a choice of milk or fruit juice.
In Bridgend County Borough, free school milk is given to:
- under-fives in state schools, as long as the child is in school for at least two hours per day
- older state school children up until the end of Key Stage 1, which is usually seven years old
Subsidised milk is offered to seven to eleven year olds at a small number of schools. Please contact your school for more information.
Goat, sheep and lactose-reduced milk can be offered at a school’s discretion, but non-dairy alternatives are not provided. The scheme is optional for schools, and some of them might offer free milk to their younger pupils, but not to older ones.
There are many benefits to children having a school lunch:
- Meals are fresh, healthy, and nutritionally balanced. In fact, all food meets the Welsh Government’s Healthy Eating in Schools (Nutritional Standards and Regulations) (Wales)
- Our menus are rich in fruit and vegetables. The Government recommends that we all eat at least five pieces of fruit or vegetables every day, and so a school meal can help keep your children healthy.
- Convenience. There’s no need to prepare a packed lunch.
- Boosting children’s brainpower. Studies have shown that children are more receptive in class if they have had a substantial lunchtime meal.
- Children can learn how to make healthy meal choices.
- Cafeterias let children relax in a safe, supervised environment with friends.
Primary menus comply with the Welsh Government’s Healthy Eating in Schools' food, drink and nutrient standards. Also, school catering holds an excellent reputation for cleanliness and hygiene. We meet all health, safety and hygiene regulations. Purchasing procedures source safe ingredients and ensure appropriate delivery and storage methods to maintain the highest levels of food safety.
- have modified our recipes to reduce sugar, salt, and fat content, as well as increase fibre
- avoid artificial additives and colourings, and do not knowingly use food containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients
- regard your child as a valued customer, and serve all children with a friendly, supportive manner
You could work for Bridgend Catering Services. We offer excellent rates of pay, and working hours start from one hour per day. Other benefits include routes to qualifications and a contributory pension scheme.
No previous experience is necessary. We provide full on-the-job training and continuous support from the management team. You need to be enthusiastic, like working in a team, and enjoy dealing with children. We welcome applications from people from all backgrounds.
The role is to prepare and serve our pupils and example responsibilities include:
- preparing and serving meals
- preparing the counter and dining room every day
- cleaning in the kitchen and dining areas
All prospective employees must undertake pre-employment medical screening, reference and criminal bureau checks.
If you have a question about money already paid, ask the school directly via the school’s contact details.