- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
ASSEMBLY Member Joyce Watson has called for all schools in Carmarthenshire to consider stigma-free ways for pupils to receive their free school meals.
In a debate in the National Assembly, the Mid and West Wales AM argued that cashless meal systems, which use either biometric readings or swipe cards to register payment, are the best way of ensuring that pupils who receive free school meals cannot be identified.
Five out of 13 secondary schools in Carmarthenshire already use cashless systems with two introducing systems later this year and two more hoping to go cashless next year. Meanwhile, in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Powys and Gwynedd, only one or two schools in each county is cashless, according to research by the Labour AM.
Mrs Watson said: “At best, ticket systems are inefficient to operate, at worst they can have a far-reaching bearing on a young person’s school life.
”Either way it’s out-dated and we should change it.
“Overall, the benefits of going cashless far outweigh the costs.
”Lunch services speed up by up to three times; more free school meals are taken up; and it’s easier for parents and pupils to keep track of what they’re eating; and by removing stigma and bullying, cashless systems have the potential to transform school meals in all Welsh schools.”