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Government confirms extra support for free school meals families

Gavin williamson education secretary free school meals
Gavin Williamson: Confirmed help for families over Easter
07 Apr 2020
The Government has formally announced a package of support, including additional funding to extend support to free school meals children during the Easter holiday. It has made it clear, though, that this arrangement is a ‘one-off’.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, confirming what cabinet colleague Michael Gove suggested on April 4th, has said the Government is to make extra funding available for schools to ‘cover the unique challenges and financial costs of the coronavirus outbreak’.

He said: “Schools across the country are going above and beyond to support children during this hugely challenging period.

“We must support them every step of the way, which is why we are making extra funding available, on top of existing budgets, to any school facing unavoidable costs incurred due to the coronavirus crisis.

“We are also ensuring parents and schools are able to access high-quality resources to support children to continue learning while they stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

“The Government has also confirmed today that it will extend financial support to children eligible for free schools meals who are not attending school during the Easter holidays.

“While many schools already have local arrangements in place, this funding means that schools which do not will be able to order vouchers for families through the national scheme or, where they have alternative arrangements in place, be reimbursed for additional costs.”

In guidance notes to Williamson’s announcement, the Department for Education adds: “Free school meals should be offered to eligible pupils not attending school during term time weeks and the Easter holidays, and these costs will be met by DfE. The addition of the Easter holidays reflects the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time. This support will not cover future holidays. Free school meal pupils in school during the Easter holidays should also continue to receive a free meal if eligible, and these costs will be met by the school.”