The closure of schools until further notice (except for children of key workers and vulnerable children) has left many people wondering about free school meals.
Families whose children are eligible for free school meals on the grounds of low income will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support, even if they are no longer attending school due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
On 31 March 2020 the government gave details of the arrangements.
Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.
Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves, but where this is not possible, the scheme will allow schools to provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access.
The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S, with the Department working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.
Families who become eligible for free school meals due to their changing circumstances should apply to their local authority.
Similar provisions apply in Wales - click here.
The Scottish government is setting up a Food Fund to 'help organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors address issues of food insecurity, especially for older people, and families who may not be able to rely on free school meals'. Click here and here.