School Meals

Department for Education written question – answered on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that schools put in place plans to recommence serving students lunches provided by their school food suppliers.

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that schools do not use Edenred and other suppliers' vouchers when their usual school meal provider is able to provide meals to children in receipt of free school meals.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is continuing to provide schools with their expected funding, including funding to cover benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, throughout this period. We are asking schools to support children at home who are eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals, by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach.

As schools prepare to open more widely, they should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for school meals. Schools should ensure that catering teams and food suppliers are supported to return to school to provide meals both for those children attending school and for those remaining at home who are eligible for free school meals. If a school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels for children who are at home, the school can continue to offer vouchers to families of eligible pupils if needed.

Our guidance on free school meals during this period is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated.

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