Schools told NOT to provide free school meals vouchers during February half term

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SCHOOLS have been told NOT to provide free school meal vouchers to families during the February half-term.

After the fierce row over meagre food parcels being sent out to vulnerable families, fresh advice from the Department of Education has told schools they do not need to help keep vulnerable children fed over the holidays.

Parents shared pictures of paltry free school meal parcels

The guidance says: “Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the February half-term.

“There is wider government support in place to support families and children outside of term time through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.”

Kids were provided with free school meals over the Easter and Summer holidays last year.

A massive row exploded over free school meals over October half term, with a slew of councils across the country agreeing to fund kids’ food over the holidays out of their own budgets.

Footballer Marcus Rashford, who has become the figure head of the free school meal campaign, forced the Government to provide extra cash for children at risk of going hungry over Christmas.

It is through this scheme, the Covid Winter Grant Scheme, worth £170million that families will be able to access food over the upcoming half-term break.

At least 80 per cent of this was earmarked to give support with food and essential utility costs until the end of March.

It comes only a day after Boris Johnson branded food boxes packed with little more than potatoes, cans of beans, a loaf of bread and a block of cheese “a disgrace”.

The PM said the packages were an “insult to the families that have received them” and vowed to correct the problem.

Guidance from the DfE now tells schools they will be able to claim for a voucher retrospectively if food parcels do not meet the standard expected.

It says: “Further details on how and when additional costs can be reclaimed will be provided shortly. Valid claims for costs will be met in full.

“Support should be provided each week for benefits-related free school meal pupils at home during the national lockdown and school opening restrictions, from the week beginning 4 January to the week beginning 8 February.”

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