To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to his Department's news story of 4 January 2020, Free meals and summer holiday activities for children, whether the Holiday Activities and Food scheme remains in a pilot phase.
7 February 2020
This government has announced a programme of research and pilots to explore ways of supporting disadvantaged families during school holidays. Following the success of our previous programmes, we now understand more about how best to support disadvantaged families. We are targeting this support where it is needed during the 6-week summer holidays.
We awarded £2 million of funding to 7 organisations to deliver free healthy food and activities to children and families in some of the most disadvantaged areas in the country during the 2018 summer holidays. The organisations informed us that with this money they were able to support around 280 clubs and reach around 18,000 children.
In summer 2019 we invested £9 million in 11 local authority areas reaching around 50,000 children. The assessment process for bids for the 2020 summer programme remains ongoing and we will announce the outcome of the process shortly, alongside the areas that we will be working in and the number of children that we expect to benefit.
We have also commissioned an independent evaluation of the 2019 programme, which will report on the number of disadvantaged eligible children who accessed the clubs across the country, including our work in the North East, and which will be published in 2020.
Further funding of this programme after 2020 will be considered as part of the three-year Spending Review and we will set out our plans in due course.