Free School Meals: Coronavirus

(asked on 19th February 2021) - View Source

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether children entitled to age related free school meals should be receiving them (a) at home or (b) for collection during covid-19 lockdown.

Answered by
Vicky Ford Portrait
Vicky Ford
This question was answered on 25th February 2021

All infant pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools, including academies, are entitled to a free school meal (FSM) under the universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy introduced in September 2014.

Whilst attendance restrictions are in place for the majority of pupils, schools should provide meal options for all pupils who are in school, including vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. Meals should be available free of charge to all infant pupils and pupils who meet the benefits-related FSM eligibility criteria.

Under normal circumstances, schools do not provide FSM to eligible pupils who are not in school. During the national lockdown, we have provided additional funding for schools to continue supporting pupils eligible for benefits-related FSM (including infant pupils who meet the benefits related criteria) who are at home during term-time.

Schools continue to receive their usual funding for UIFSM and can use this to provide infant pupils with a meal at home, where they are not otherwise eligible for benefits-related FSM.

Schools will fully open to all pupils on 8 March 2021 and from this date pupils will eat lunch at school, unless they are self-isolating.

The government remains committed to ensuring the most disadvantaged children continue to be supported. The government has provided an additional £170 million through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme for local authorities in England to support the hardest-hit families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities.

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