WQ84220 (e) Wedi’i gyflwyno ar 11/01/2022

A yw Llywodraeth Cymru yn cynnal asesiad effaith ar yr effaith gadarnhaol bosibl y mae polisïau fel prydau ysgol am ddim yn ei chael a'i heffaith ar gyllidebau yn y dyfodol?

Wedi'i ateb gan Y Gweinidog Cyllid a Llywodraeth Leol | Wedi'i ateb ar 19/01/2022

The Written Statement provided by the Minister for Education and Welsh Language on 17 December 2021 described the work already underway, as well as the anticipated approach for rolling out our commitment to provide universal free school meals across primary schools. As set out in the Statement, delivering this commitment will require a collaborative effort and careful planning in partnership with local authorities, schools, food producers and suppliers and voluntary organisations. The detailed discussions that have already taken place with these partners have highlighted the importance of adopting a staged approach to implementation, so that the growth in numbers of pupils eligible for, and taking up their offer of a free school meal, can be matched by the capacity of schools to effectively deliver the extended provision. 

In addition to ensuring sufficient time for key partners to build capacity and put the necessary practical arrangements in place, we are also mindful of the challenges faced by local authorities and schools still grappling with the pandemic. Having carefully considered all of these factors, therefore, it has been agreed that implementation will begin in September 2022, and most likely with an initial focus on our youngest learners, to ensure that any growth in numbers eligible for a free school meal is manageable.

In delivering this commitment we will, of course, continue to look for opportunities for accelerating its rollout. However, given the scale of the task at hand, building the necessary capacity and ensuring the sustainability of any provision will be the Welsh Government’s initial focus.

The Welsh Government regularly, and routinely undertakes impact assessments in developing and implementing policies. With regard to free school meals policy, impact assessment work began as part of the review of eligibility criteria identified in our Programme for Government last year. This is a live process which will continue as we move towards and develop plans for implementing the Co-operation Agreement commitment.  A full Integrated Impact Assessment reflecting this work will be published later in the year and prior to this programme of work being rolled out in schools.

This work has been carried out in collaboration with Siân Gwenllian MS, the Plaid Cymru designated lead member, as part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru.