Although I am relieved that the Government has agreed to continue the free school meals policy over the Summer break, there is a concern that some students will fall through the cracks.
Students who are moving from a primary school to a secondary school can apply for the COVID Summer Food Fund through their former primary school, even though they will not be returning there after the Summer holidays.
However, for students who are finishing year 11 and continuing their education after the Summer break, it is not clear whether they will be eligible for the scheme through their former secondary school.
I was contacted by a constituent whose son is in this situation, so I raised their case with the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson. I have posted a copy of my letter below.
It is imperative that students have the resources that they need to learn and grow, including basic necessities like food.
However, parents are not always able to provide everything that their children need on their own. This is why schemes like the COVID Summer Food Fund are so important.
If you need help with free school meals or with obtaining school uniforms, you can read further information here: https://www.bolton.gov.uk/free-school-meals-clothing-allowance/free-school-meals-help-school-uniform
During the COVID-19 crisis, eligibility for free school meals has been extended to some children with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) and the maximum household earnings threshold for this support is £16,190 per year. You can find further information about this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups
Schools must apply for the COVID Summer Food Fund by Friday 10 July 2020.
Please note that the Government website currently states that the earnings threshold is £7,400 but this is incorrect. The correct figure is £16,190 and I hope that the Government will update the website soon in order to ensure that those who are eligible for support are made aware of it and that schools get more assistance to provide it in order to prevent some of the poorest children from being excluded from this much-needed scheme.