New data on how families are faring during school closures
The Food Foundation has published the results of its third poll since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown.
According to the results of a YouGov survey commissioned by the Food Foundation:
- 31% of children entitled to free school meals (approximately half a million children) are still not getting any substitute
- of the families who have received substitutes, 70% are receiving vouchers; but 12% have been unable to download the code
- of the 621,000 children who were accessing free breakfast clubs before the crisis, only 136,000 are getting a substitute.
These figures echo our findings gather through conversations with schools and families. Each week we’re gathering this intel and feeding in to government so that the voices are families can perhaps influence next steps. Food Foundation is now calling on DFE, local authorities, and schools to:
- Rapidly support children on FSM, and put equal effort into supporting schools to distribute food parcels as fixing the voucher system
- Ensure quick access for households becoming newly eligible for FSM and Healthy Start vouchers
- Think now about extending vouchers/support for these children through half term and summer holidays
They also recommend changes to Universal Credit to help reduce food insecurity, including through the removal of the five-week wait, and the removal of the benefit cap; and urge the new cross-departmental ministerial task force focusing on vulnerable groups to support a national coordination mechanism to address unmet need for food security.
You can find out more about how school and families are experiencing the government’s response to feeding FSM children during C19 by keeping an eye on our Coronavirus page with our weekly roundups.
In other news ...
A new study has found that around half of children who received FSM vouchers are eating significantly less fruit and veg since schools closed in March.
We have received a response from our letter to Vicky Ford, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families.
School Food Matters is proud to sign a letter urgently seeking clarity on the status of the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, which has been suspended since March 2020.