Feeding children during school closures
The Department for Education (DfE) has released new guidance for schools around Free School Meals (FSM) during the school closures
We’re glad to see that school caterers are front and centre. The key points schools should be aware of:
You should speak to your school catering team (in house), or school catering provider to see if they can prepare meals or food parcels that could be delivered to, or collected by families.
If you use a local authority catering service, you should check if they have a scheme for providing meals or food parcels to vulnerable groups affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you use a private catering provider, contact them to see what alternative arrangements are available.
Where schools are closed, and the catering team cannot provide meals or parcels, schools should offer alternative arrangements to support the delivery of food to these children. Other options include local initiatives (for example, a local school acting as a community hub or a charity) and the provision of supermarket vouchers.
The Government also outlined their progress in the development of a national approach to supermarket and shop vouchers, with more information to be made available soon. This will include further guidance on how schools who incur additional costs in providing free school meals or vouchers to pupils affected by coronavirus will be compensated.
In the meantime, schools are encouraged to order supermarket and shop vouchers directly from a number of retailers – usually through their corporate division. Schools are encouraged to source vouchers for supermarkets or shops in the local area where possible.
The guidance also notes that the steps you take to support pupils affected by COVID-19 might be different depending on the individual circumstances of the school. You can read the full DfE guidance here.
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We've been hearing such inspiring stories from our schools and catering teams that we thought we should write to Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson.