Croydon Council have released a really useful guide to meal planning and healthy eating – it can be found here and is definitely worth reading

National Free School Meal Voucher Scheme

Launched on 31st March, although we are still awaiting confirmation and details, this scheme enables schools to purchase supermarket vouchers and issue them to individual families who would ordinarily be in receipt of benefits-related FSM. Full details can be found at the link here.

Schools can issue every family with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 (per child) to spend at supermarkets, while schools are closed due to coronavirus. The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S, with the Department working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.

Alternatively, schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves, but where this is not possible, the scheme allows schools to provide vouchers directly to families.

Management of the grants scheme

This scheme is centrally-funded (by the DfE) and therefore schools do not have to pay for these vouchers. This funding is additional to existing free school meal budgets.

Schools can access the voucher scheme using the Edenred portal. Edenred will send schools an activation email, explaining how to access the portal and order vouchers. The email will be sent on Tuesday 31 March to the email address DfE holds for your school.

Before ordering vouchers, schools should check which pupils are eligible and currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. Vouchers should be made available to the adult with caring responsibility for that child.

Administering vouchers to families

· Schools can issue one £15 voucher, per child, each week, for families not currently attending school.

· Schools can set up a weekly £15 rolling voucher for families.

· Schools can combine funding where a family has more than one child eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

· Schools can issue vouchers for term-time only (please consider other support options for the holiday period such as issuing food hampers).

Vouchers can be issued in 2 different ways:

1. As e-vouchers – provided to a family via their email address. This enables a family to chose their own supermarket once the voucher is received.

2. As gift vouchers – the school would need to select the supermarket when ordering the vouchers and then print the vouchers for the family. Please consider how you will get these vouchers to families, as postal services are slower than usual in places. Consider whether some vouchers could be dropped off or collected.