Latest free school meal guidance for schools

Latest free school meal guidance for schools
19 January 2021
The government has updated the official guidance for providing schools meals during the pandemic

The updated guidance includes information on the national voucher scheme: how to order vouchers, sending eCodes to families, the process for redeeming vouchers, and an extended list of the participating supermarkets.

In the guidance document, the government is still encouraging schools to work with their catering teams or food provider to put together food parcels and despite images on social media last week, we know that some catering teams are doing fantastic work! School also have the freedom to decide on the best approach for their pupils: food parcels, local vouchers (for which schools will be reimbursed by Department for Education) or the national voucher scheme.

The national voucher scheme, run once more by Edenred, now provides eGift cards for the following supermarkets:

  • Aldi
  • Iceland
  • McColl’s
  • Morrisons
  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Asda
  • Waitrose
  • M&S
  • Company Shop Group

We are pleased to see that DfE is providing clear guidance to make it as simple as possible for schools to support their communities, however we are frustrated to see that the support only extends until 8 February, which tells us that schools will not be funded to support families during the February half-term. We are aware that schools can access funding for holiday meals through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme but this is confusing for schools, frustrating for parents and will not play out well in the media, particularly when so much damage was done by sub-standard food parcels last week.  Call for Mr Rashford?