Free school meal vouchers WILL now be available over Easter

The government has today made a U-turn on its refusal to pay for free school meal vouchers over Easter – saying they will now be available to “support household income”.

Former education secretary Michael Gove, speaking at today’s coronavirus briefing, also said the government is “conscious more must be done”, particularly over holidays, to help children at risk and in need.

He said: “We will be saying more next week about work in this area.”

The government had been criticised after confirming its national free school meal voucher scheme, launched earlier this week, will only be available during term-time.

Campaigners had hoped the scheme would continue through the Easter holidays in order to address concerns about holiday hunger at a time when many more families are likely to be suffering financially.

A campaign was launched by the Headteachers Roundtable calling for the government to reverse its decision.

Gove said today: “Parents have kept their children at home wherever possible, so we head into the Easter holiday weeks with school attendance having being around 2 per cent, ensuring the most vulnerable can be cared for.

“For children eligible for free school meals, vouchers will be available through the holidays to support household income.”

Schools are expected to stay open during the Easter holidays.