• Spending watchdog opens inquiry into national free school meal voucher fiasco

    The public spending watchdog is to investigate the government’s free school meals voucher scheme following wide-ranging problems that left parents and children to go hungry. The National Audit Office said the investigation will “set out the facts” about the voucher scheme, including probing the Department for Education’s “objectives and choice of contractor to run the

    15.52 Jul. 23rd, 2020 | News

  • All quiet on FSM voucher ‘safety mechanisms’

    There is no evidence that the national free school meals voucher scheme has built-in safety mechanisms that stop the cash going on booze and cigarettes, Schools Week has found. Last week, Ben Bradley, a Conservative MP, demanded safeguards be installed to stop parents spending vouchers on items other than food for children. “Parents aren’t necessarily

    13.00 Jun. 26th, 2020 | News

  • DfE finally reveals details of Covid summer food fund

    Details of the government’s Covid summer food fund have finally been released, over a week after the scheme was unveiled. The fund will allow schools to order free school meals vouchers for eligible children to cover the summer holidays following a government U-turn. Guidance on the fund has now been published, setting out how the

    12.43 Jun. 25th, 2020 | News

  • Government sets up £120m 'Covid summer food fund' after free meal vouchers U-turn

    The government has said it will provide free school meal vouchers over the summer holidays in a significant U-turn, following mounting pressure led by footballer Marcus Rashford. Until today, ministers had been adamant that the scheme, which has replaced school lunches for many disadvantaged children during partial closures, would end when schools break up in

    13.12 Jun. 16th, 2020 | News

  • Extend free school meal vouchers over summer holiday, says senior Tory MP

    The government’s national free school meal voucher scheme should be extended to cover the summer holidays, the chair of the Commons education committee has said. Robert Halfon, a former Conservative education minister, has written to children’s minister Vicky Ford to express “huge concern” that the scheme will stop in mid-July. It comes after food charity

    16.36 Jun. 5th, 2020 | News

  • Coronavirus: Schools expected to deliver food parcels when more pupils return

    Schools will be expected to make food parcels available for delivery or collection instead of using the national voucher scheme when more pupils go back from Monday.  Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed schools can begin a phased reopening from Monday as the government’s five tests on the coronavirus outbreak were being met. In updated

    10.36 May. 29th, 2020 | News

  • School kitchens’ ‘nightmare’ over planning for pupils’ return

    School kitchens face a planning “nightmare” for the return of pupils, with uncertainty and concern over numbers, food availability, rising prices and a lack of government guidance. The Department for Education has said school kitchens should provide meals for all pupils returning on June 1. Official guidance, however, is brief. Following the partial closure of

    5.00 May. 23rd, 2020 | News

  • Revealed: Edenred sued government over tender-free contract

    The under-fire company that runs the national free meal voucher scheme took legal action against the government almost six years ago for issuing a contract to a rival without a tender. Schools Week revealed the government’s contract with Edenred – valued at up to £234 million – was awarded without going to tender under emergency

    17.00 May. 15th, 2020 | News

  • DfE 'can't prevent' schools buying half-term meal vouchers

    The government’s refusal to roll out the free meal voucher scheme over the May half-term break is meaningless because they are unable to prevent schools from buying vouchers, it has been claimed. Ministers said they have “no plans to extend the scheme into future holiday periods”. However, school business managers and food campaigners have pointed

    13.00 May. 15th, 2020 | News

  • Edenred's national voucher scheme contract worth up to £234m, new documents reveal

    The company running the government’s free school meal national voucher scheme was aware before its launch that as many as 1.3 million children may need vouchers, new documents reveal. The disclosure challenges ministers’ claims that the national scheme was overwhelmed because of “unprecedented demand”, leaving families going weeks without support. This poses some important questions

    5.00 May. 7th, 2020 | News

  • How the government's free school meals voucher scheme is leaving children without food

    “I’ve got nothing. No milk, no bread, no food, nothing.” That was the voicemail message a school received from a sobbing parent who had been waiting two weeks for her free school meal vouchers to arrive. My shopping costs have gone up by £30-£40 a week with the children home. These vouchers are needed…it’s making

    5.00 Apr. 24th, 2020 | News