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Free School Meals

Question for Department for Education

UIN 115924, tabled on 1 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will enable children on free school meals to roll over unspent monies on their prepaid cards in the context of the introduction of prepaid cards that enable Healthy Start recipients to roll over unspent monies.

Answered on

7 February 2022

Free school meals (FSM) are intended as a benefit in kind, rather than a cash benefit, and the department’s primary interest is that schools meet their legal duties to provide nutritious free lunches to eligible children.

Schools have considerable freedoms in how they deliver FSM, and it is important that children are claiming their free lunch each day and schools and colleges ensure children are not building up significant cash reserves on their accounts or regularly spending their allowances at other times of day without receiving their healthy lunch.

The Healthy Start scheme, led by the Department of Health and Social Care, provides vouchers which can be exchanged for fruit, vegetables, pulses, milk, infant formula and free Healthy Start vitamins.

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