INCREASED portion sizes are on the menu as pupils at Beath and Lochgelly high schools said they were hungry at the end of the school day.

Local councillors have ordered officers to urgently explore increased portions for school meals.

At Wednesday’s area committee meeting, a motion was passed unanimously against the backdrop of a student survey from 2019.

It reported that the majority of students who had school lunch at Lochgelly and Beath High Schools were hungry at the end of the day. 

“I’m concerned to note that 60.2 per cent of students are hungry at the end of the day after eating the school lunch on offer,” SNP member Bailey-Lee Robb said. 

“The council requests officers to urgently explore increasing portion sizes and additional measures that can be quickly put in place to alleviate concerns while ensuring a healthy and balanced diet remains at the centre.” 

The report from Fife’s facility’s management services stated that more than 80 per cent of students surveyed at the two high schools have a meal on some or most days of the week. 

However, Tariq Ditta, head of facility management, said that it was surprising to learn that nearly two thirds were leaving school hungry. 

In addition to hunger, lunch options were ranked as “adequate” by a majority of students.

“What our kids are getting is average, and that’s not good enough for our young people in the Cowdenbeath area," said Cllr Lea McLelland.

"The standard of food in schools should be far better than average.”  

High school students can currently choose a set menu option offering two courses for £2.40 or they can choose from a “pick and mix” style cafeteria menu.

The committee was told the food on offer at both schools was generally well received despite student demands for more international or ‘Lifestyle’ food offerings – particularly more American, Italian and Chinese options.

“The service is developing new menu offerings and is largely receptive and responsive to the needs and wants of pupils and parents,” Mr Ditta said. 

However, the Scottish Government restricts the type and frequency of food that schools across Fife and the rest of Scotland can offer. 

“Its directive aims to reduce consumption of red meat, fats, salt, nitrates, free sugar and increase fibre and nutritional content," Mr Ditta explained in the report.

"For example, we cannot universally offer popular ‘lifestyle’ foods such as ‘fast food burgers, deep fried foods, smoothies and fruit juices."

Committee members passed Cllr Robb’s recommendations and officers will now look into increasing the size of school and bringing in additional measures to help with hunger. 

Facility’s management will also continue to engage with students and report back to the committee. 

Mr Ditta also invited all committee members to come sample the food on offer in Fife Schools.

“In our quest for good quality, I think it’s important to show up at schools and see it as it is now,” he said.