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Voucher scheme launched for schools in England providing free school meals

Wednesday 1st April 2020

Children eligible for free school meals in England will be able to benefit from a national voucher scheme allowing them to continue to access meals whilst they stay at home.

The scheme announced by the government yesterday will mean schools will be able to provide eligible children with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.

Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves, but where this is not possible, the scheme will allow schools to provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access to ensure children do not lose out.

The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S, and the Department for Education (DfE) are working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.

Around 1.3 million in children in England are entitled to free school meals and, until now, schools have been making their own arrangements.

The Department for Education has also published new guidance on free school meals to help schools and parents prepare.