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Free School Meals: West Yorkshire

Question for Department for Education

UIN 7311, tabled on 25 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children in West Yorkshire were eligible for the free school meals voucher scheme during its operation.

Answered on

2 June 2021

According to the census data for 2020: in West Yorkshire there were 76,940 (19.9%) pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals in the spring of 2020 and 85,738 (22.4%) pupils eligible in the autumn of 2020. This year’s spring census is due to be published in June 2021.

During the periods of school opening restrictions, we continued to provide extra funding to support schools to provide food parcels or vouchers to pupils who were eligible for benefits-related free school meals and who were required to stay at home during term time.

Guidance was in place allowing schools to decide the best approach for their pupils. School leaders know their communities best and were given flexibility to select the most appropriate support for their pupils.  This could have been through lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers or through the national voucher scheme.

Now schools are fully open, all children should be able to access a nutritious meal at school, free to those that are eligible for free school meals. Where pupils eligible for benefits related free school meals are required to stay at home, schools should work with their school catering team or food provider to offer good quality lunch parcels. This is the same arrangement that was in place throughout the autumn term.