Beath High pupils have taken their concerns about school dinners in Fife to Holyrood.

Sixth year students Ines Shearer, Hannah Malone, Kate Dair and Emily Inglis, plus fifth year campaigner Aimee Anwender, said that many pupils - themselves included - still feel hungry after eating school lunches. 

They recently told councillors of their issues with the quantity, quality and pricing of the fare on offer in the canteen, and have now aired their views with the Scottish Government.

“We’re not asking for loads of stuff, we’re just asking for a lunch that’s nutritional and fills us up,” Aimee said.  “The issues we found were that the prices - we didn’t understand how they were set.

"A lot of us were getting charged different amounts for the same things, depending on what day it was or who we went to pay.

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"And we also found a lot of us actually felt hungry after eating our lunch and that was one of the things we just felt like we couldn’t go on feeling like that because that’s not right.”

Central Fife Times: Senior pupils at Beath High have told the Scottish Government that the school dinners on offer in Fife are nowhere near good enough. Senior pupils at Beath High have told the Scottish Government that the school dinners on offer in Fife are nowhere near good enough. (Image: Newsquest)

The quintet sat down with a representative from the Scottish Government last week to discuss the issues and legislation.

It gave the pupils a fresh perspective and a clearer direction to take their concerns forward. 

Emily said that the impetus for change is with Fife Council but emphasised that it’s more complicated than it appears. 

Ines explained that local authorities are bound by strict legislation that limits the amount of products like salt, red meat and fried foods that students are allowed to have each week - and they must also bear costs in mind. 

“What we need to think about now is how we’re going to make these changes happen,” Aimee said. 

“It’s been really good to speak with someone from the Scottish Government to find out what exactly is stopping us from making the changes we want to make.

"We can bring that back to Fife’s head of service and we can ask whether there’s any way to work with the legislation to create meals we will all enjoy.”

The Beath pupils are looking at what can be added to the lunch menu that there’s no limit on – such as lentils and seasonings to improve taste. 

They will bring more detailed ideas and suggestions to their meeting with Tariq Ditta, head of Fife’s facilities management service, after the holidays. 

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Aimee said: “We have nothing against the cafeteria staff, it’s just the way that the school meals are set up. The staff do all they can for us and they’re really helpful.”  

At last month's Cowdenbeath area committee the pupils persuaded councillors to call for a Fife-wide review of school meals. 

Education scrutiny convener Kathleen Leslie anticipates a report will come to her committee in September.  “I’m happy for us to do that. We need a better understanding of what the issues are,” she said. “If kids are still hungry after lunch, we need to be asking why.

"And if school meals are not making kids feel full, we obviously need to change things in a way that doesn’t impact costs a great deal more.” 

She continued: “We’ve only seen this issue raised in Cowdenbeath so far, but that doesn’t mean there are not issues at other schools.” 

Cllr Leslie said she’s keen to hear the views of students in other parts of Fife too.