FREE school meals will be extended to Years 3 and 4 pupils in Ceredigion in April.

Ceredigion County Council rolled out the first phase of Universal Free School Meals to all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and 2 in September 2022, as part of the Welsh Government’s scheme to offer free school meals to all primary school pupils by September 2024.

From Monday 17 April 2023, the second phase of the roll out will see pupils in years 3 and 4 also being eligible to receive free school meals.

Councillor Wyn Thomas, Cabinet Member responsible for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, said: “I’m delighted to hear that we are rolling out the second phase of the scheme which will see school pupils in Year 3 and 4 also being offered free school meals in the county.

"This will reduce pressure on families during the current cost of living crisis.”

A spokesperson for Ceredigion County Council said: "We are committed to implementing this scheme quickly and would ask for patience as we build catering capacity to ensure a successful phased implementation and work towards a whole school roll-out over the next three years."

All of Wales' approximately 272,000 primary school pupils are set to get free lunches by 2024. It is part of a deal between Plaid Cymru and the Labour Welsh government.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Families throughout Wales are under huge pressure because of the cost-of-living crisis and we are doing everything we can to support them.

"Extending free school meals to all primary schools is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time."

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said the policy would mean "no child will need to go hungry while they are in class".

Plaid said it ultimately wanted to see free school meals for secondary school pupils too.

But the Welsh Conservatives said "limited resources" should be focused on the poorest.

"There is a cost-of-living crisis and we need every single penny of public funds to be targeted at where it is most needed, which Labour and Plaid's blanket approach fails to do," the party's leader Andrew RT Davies said.

The youngest children in England and Scotland already receive universal free school meals with plans to extend it further in Scotland.