National voucher scheme launches for schools providing free meals
PUBLISHED: 11:45 08 April 2020
Children eligible for free school meals will benefit from a national voucher scheme allowing them to continue to access meals while they stay at home.
Schools can provide every eligible child 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.
The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, with the Department for Education working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.
The Priory Learning Trust, which has schools including Priory Community School Academy, Worle Community School Academy and The King Alfred School Academy in Highbridge, adopted the scheme on Tuesday.
Neville Coles, executive principal of the Priory Learning Trust, said: ”We have around 660 families in receipt of free school meals across the trust.
“We will certainly be adopting this scheme and actually making sure we provide vouchers through the Easter break as well.
“We think this is exactly what we should, and can do, at this challenging time for our families.
“Our staff are fully behind the principle of doing all we can to support our communities.
“We are also supporting our NHS by running our school-based provision throughout what was the Easter break.”
Parents will receive the voucher through their child’s school, which can then be redeemed online via a code, or sent to their house as a gift card and used at supermarkets across the country.
Schools will be emailed by the Department for Education’s chosen supplier, Edenred, and will then either be able to order vouchers individually online and have a code sent through email to each family.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I want to thank schools for the support they are continuing to provide to families during such uncertain times.
“No child should go hungry as a result of the measures introduced to keep people at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
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