The Department for Education has published guidance regarding Free School Meals (31.03.2020).
The guidance gives details of how schools may access a national free school meal voucher scheme to distribute vouchers to parents and carers who are in receipt of qualifying benefits.
Questions and Answers
What is the eligibility criteria for free school meals?
The eligibility criteria for free school meals can be found here.
What is the value of the vouchers?
The vouchers are valued at £15 each week for every child eligible for benefits-related free school meals.
Where can parents and carers use the vouchers?
Parents and carers will be able to exchange values at the following supermarkets:
- Aldi (from w/c 27 April)
Will pupils who become newly eligible for free school meals be supported?
Yes. Schools and local authorities should continue to accept free school meal applications. Parents and carers can apply by following the guide below.
What about infants that receive a free meal under universal infant free school meals?
It is right that schools concentrate their effort and resources on those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals at this time. There is no requirement to continue to provide universal infant free school meals to pupils in reception, year 1, or year 2 who are unable to attend school. Children in those year groups who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals will be supported.
How do parents and carers redeem the vouchers?
Once families have received their voucher, they will be able to redeem them in-store at the selected retailer by either:
- presenting the voucher on a smartphone or tablet
- presenting a paper copy of the voucher
What about families that do not have access to the internet?
Schools will either send printed versions of the supermarket eGift cards to families that do not have access to emails or arrange for families to collect their vouchers from school.
What items can parents and carers select?
Families are free to select the most appropriate food and drink for their child. When selecting products, we encourage families to consider health and nutrition.
The vouchers cannot be redeemed for any age-restricted items, such as alcohol, cigarettes or lottery tickets.