Contact calls for free school meals voucher scheme for disabled children

2 mins read

Thursday 19 January 2023

We’re happy to be supporting a parent-led campaign calling for food vouchers for eligible disabled children unable to access free meals at school.

About the campaign

Natalie Hay, a parent carer, started this campaign after realising that many disabled children eligible for free school meals are unable to access them.

Natalie started a Facebook group for the campaign, and we are happy to be lending our support.

Why can’t some disabled children access free school meals?

There are a variety of reasons why some disabled children might not be able to access meals at school.

These include:

  • When a child is not in physical attendance at school due to a long-term medical condition.
  • When a child attends school but cannot eat the meals provided due to dietary requirements or sensory processing difficulties.
  • When a child is home learning because they are waiting for a school placement.
  • When a school setting can’t meet a child’s needs, so they are home learning or have Education Otherwise Than At School (EOTAS).

Why is this such an issue?

These families with disabled children are being disadvantaged. They have to provide a school lunch when it should be free.

“When every child was learning from home during pandemic lockdowns reasonable adjustments were made. Every child was helped.

When disabled children are learning from home, no reasonable adjustments are made and barely any are helped.

This needs to change.”

Parent Natalie Hay

Contact backs parliamentary bill

Tomorrow, the second reading of Zarah Sultana MP’s private members Free Schools Meals (Primary School) Bill takes place in Parliament.

This provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the current inequality in free school meal access for disabled children.

The Bill has a wider aim to extend eligibility for free school meals to all children in state primary schools. Contact has sent a briefing note regarding the current difficulties disabled children are facing.

We are hopeful that MPs will raise this issue in the debate tomorrow.

Get involved in the campaign

If your child has missed out on their free school meal, please join the parent-led Facebook group to support this campaign.

You can also email your local MP about the issue. Please email for a template email.