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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Schools and local authorities

The research

We undertook research with Scottish schools and local authorities to understand:


  • How universal free school meals (UFSM) was implemented and how implementation could be improved.
  • The factors impacting on uptake of UFSM and to identify ways of increasing UFSM uptake.
  • The impact UFSM has had on key outcomes and what other unintended impacts have been experienced.



UFSM implementation was relatively straightforward and uptake of school meals has increased. Initially schools and local authorities focused on managing the increased demand for school meals. Now the focus has changed to increasing and maintaining uptake of UFSM.

Our research identified a number of actions which could improve implementation and uptake of UFSM in Scotland. You can find further information in our briefing on improving implementation and uptake of universal free school meals; our accessible evaluation summary; and our main evaluation report

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