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Pupils: Food

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL14090, tabled on 10 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of state schools providing (1) breakfast clubs, (2) food banks, and (3) food and other parcels, to the families of pupils; and what plans they have to support schools to continue this provision in the long-term.

Answered on

24 March 2021

The government remains committed to ensuring the most disadvantaged children continue to be supported.

The department is investing up to £38 million in the National School Breakfast Programme. Overall, this money will set up or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas, making them sustainable in the long run. The focus of these clubs has been to target the most disadvantaged areas of the country – including the Department for Education’s Opportunity Areas – to help make sure every child gets the best start in life. We will shortly be providing more information on the future of breakfast club provision, as our current contract is due to expire in July.

During the periods of school attendance restrictions, schools have been asked to continue to provide support for eligible free school meal pupils learning at home. Schools have been able to choose the approach that works best for them, whether providing a lunch parcel, a locally arranged voucher or accessing the national voucher scheme. So far families have redeemed more than £90 million in supermarket vouchers during this school term.

The government has taken unprecedented measures during the COVID-19 outbreak to protect the most vulnerable and put in place a strong package of financial support to support families and children. The COVID Winter Support Package was announced in November 2020. This included: the Department for Work and Pensions’ £170 million COVID Winter Grant Scheme, which has now been extended until the end of the Easter holidays (16 April 2021); the £220 million national expansion of the department’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme in 2021; and a further £16 million for FareShare to distribute to food charities.