Weekly supermarket vouchers to be sent to children on free school meals
Schools will be able to provide eligible families with a weekly voucher worth £15 while schools are closed due to coronavirus.
The value of the vouchers is higher than the £11.50 schools get towards the cost of free school meals. The government said this was because families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs.
Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery, but the scheme will allow them 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.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “No child should go hungry as a result of the measures introduced to keep people at home, protect the NHS and save lives. That’s why we are launching this scheme to make sure children who usually benefit from free school meals still have access to healthy and nutritious meals while they are not attending school.
“Parents will receive the voucher through their child’s school, which can then be redeemed online via a code, or sent to their house as a gift card and used at supermarkets across the country.”
Around 1.3 million children receive benefits-related free school meals, according to government figures.