Families will be eligible for free school meals being substituted as vouchers for supermarkets
Children will be eligible for free school meals in England, according to ministers, they will be able to claim shopping vouchers weekly while schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The scheme will allow parents to claim vouchers worth £15 a week per child from their schools.
Headteachers have warned that some parents will still struggle to feed their children, despite the implementation of the new vouchers.
But the Department for Education says the money being given exceeds that normally paid to schools to be able to supply free school meals.
Schools will be able to order the voucher codes online from Tuesday, and ministers have said that they hope parents could start receiving them the same day.
England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said:
“No child should go hungry as a result of the measures introduced to keep people at home,”
Families will be issued with either an electronic voucher or gift card worth £15, to spend at supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S.
This new scheme has been implemented after Schools across the UK were forced to close earlier this month to all pupils, except the children of key workers such as doctors, nurses and supermarket delivery drivers, as well as some vulnerable children and those with more serious special educational needs.
Headteachers across the UK have welcomed the scheme, however the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, has warned that just £3 a day would still leave families struggling.
He went on to say:
“Let’s be under no illusions, this will be a tough situation,”
“It will be challenging for parents and carers who already have the extra cost of children unexpectedly at home for an extended period.”said Mr Barton.