Free School Meals: Voucher Schemes

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Engagement

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the accessibility of the free school meal vouchers system for families who (a) do not have access to internet-enabled technology and (b) do not feel able to use that technology.

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

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that no child should go hungry as we take measures to tackle COVID-19, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We also established a national voucher scheme to support schools and families where required.

Schools were best placed to decide how to support families eligible for free school meals in their areas, and this includes considerations over access to the internet. Where parents were not able to access the national voucher scheme, we recommended that the school print and post the voucher to families. If there were issues with postal deliveries, we advised schools to consider a safe collection point for families to collect their vouchers.

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