To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department plans to take to support children eligible for free school meals in the event that schools are closed in response to the covid-19 outbreak, and if he will make a statement.
The advice from Public Health England (PHE) remains that childcare facilities and schools should stay open unless advised otherwise by PHE. However, the department is aware that pupils eligible for free school meals will miss out if their school is closed, or they are asked to self-isolate. We are closely monitoring the situation, and we are working closely with other government departments to consider what action can be taken. We recognise the challenge this could place on families and schools and education providers.
The department has launched a dedicated telephone and email service to allow quick access to the latest help and support for schools and parents. The purpose of the helpline is to ensure consistent and accurate information reaches education providers and should help ensure providers feel well-supported.
Details of the helpline:
Phone: 0800 046 8687 (8am to 6pm - Monday to Friday)