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‘Technical glitch’ causes parents to be charged for free school meals

PEMBROKESHIRE free school meals roll out didn’t quite go to plan this week with many parents being charged due to a “technical glitch.”

Schools across the county started back on Tuesday and Wednesday (September 6 and 7) with those in the early primary years entitled to free school meals as part of a Welsh Government initiative.

However, parents at many schools noticed that their child’s catering account had been charged, and has been deducted again today (Thursday, September 8).

A Pembrokeshire County Council spokesman said: “Following the launch of free school meals for pupils in full time nursery, reception and years 1 and 2 earlier this week, a few parents were charged for their child’s meals on the 6th & 7th of September. There was a technical glitch which is being rectified. Those families affected by this will receive a credit on their accounts and you should not be charged moving forward if your child is in these year groups.”

The national scheme was launched at Ysgol Bro Preseli by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Sian Gwenllian MS on Wednesday (September 7) with the rollout in Pembrokeshire extended to years one and two as well as full time nursery and reception children.

The ‘Universal Primary Free School Meals’ policy is part of a cooperation agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru and it will be extended to all primary school pupils over the next three years.

At the launch Cllr Guy Woodham, cabinet member for education and the Welsh language, said Pembrokeshire County Council was delighted to support the policy.

“Families are facing difficult times with the increasing everyday costs of living, so free, nutritious school meals for our youngest learners are great news,” he said. “No child should come to school hungry or be hungry during the day.

“We’d like to encourage parents of children in full-time nursery, reception and years 1 and 2 in primary schools to take advantage of this fantastic scheme from Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.”

The council added: “Should you have any queries regarding either Universal Free School Meals and/ or your account please contact cashlesscatering@pembrokeshire.gov.uk”

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