To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, how many vouchers have been issued under the national voucher scheme to families whose children are eligible for free school meals; and what proportion of those vouchers have been used.
Our national voucher scheme is playing a significant role in ensuring that eligible pupils can still receive free school meals while they are staying at home due to the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme offers a valuable service where schools are unable to arrange meals or food parcels through their existing food suppliers.
In the maintaining educational provision guidance, we ask schools to continue to provide care for a limited number of children, including those who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Some schools are making their own arrangements for vulnerable children and schools are providing funding to support this.
The value of the vouchers redeemed into gift cards by parents and schools has increased significantly since the start of the summer term. Edenred has reported that over £29m worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Monday 27 April. Edenred has also reported that over 15,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of Wednesday 22 April.