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Free School Meals: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 41090, tabled on 28 April 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children have become eligible for free school meals since school closures as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

4 May 2020

As education is a devolved matter, this answer refers to free school meals in England only.

It is critically important that eligible children continue to receive benefits-related free school meals during this period. We have published guidance for schools explaining what they should do to make sure that eligible pupils have continued access to this provision, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools.

As of 28 April our supplier, Edenred, reported that over 16,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme and as of Monday 4 May, Edenred has reported that over £47 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by schools and families through the scheme. We do not collect data at pupil level. The department does not hold information on the number of children that have been fed via school collection and distribution models or other means since school closures.

The department does not hold data regarding how many children have become eligible for free school meals since the school closures. This information will be collected as part of the school census. Schools and local authorities should continue to accept free school meal applications during the closures to ensure that newly eligible children are able to receive meals they are entitled to.

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Interests declared
The Member has declared that they have interests which may be relevant to the subject matter of this question.