New data on how families are faring during school closures

4 May 2020

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 ...

School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme to Resume!

16 July 2020

In welcome news for school food campaigners, the Government has confirmed the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme will be returning.


Guidance on Defra's Emergency Assistance Grant

13 July 2020

Defra has published guidance for Local Authorities on the Emergency Assistance Grant.

Boris' new obesity plan

27 July 2020

We welcome the government's new obesity strategy which sweeps up many of the actions outstanding from the various chapters of the Childhood Obesity Plan.