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Announcement welcomed on free school meals during Coronavirus pandemic

Published Thursday, 19th March 2020

Worcestershire County Council has welcomed today’s announcement that eligible families will continue to receive free school meals during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Education has announced this afternoon that low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving support even if they aren’t attending school.

Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice.

Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Education and Skills, said: “I’m really pleased that Central Government has ensured that children who are eligible for free school meals will still receive their daily meal. These meals provide vital reassurance to families, ensuring that children will continue to receive the vital nutrition they need.

These meals are vitally important to the children and families that receive them, so these hot meals, food or vouchers whilst they are unable to attend school are a great step. We will be sharing the newly-published guidance on this with headteachers across the county shortly.”

The Government has also confirmed that the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.

This has been done in recognition that families will not be buying food in bulk and may therefore incur higher costs during the Coronavirus pandemic.