COVID-19 Free School Meals Vouchers
Free School Meal Vouchers during the Covid-19 Pandemic
During this challenging time, the government are issuing vouchers worth £15 per week to each child eligible for free school meals.
Those already entitled to Free School Meals are now receiving their eCodes which can be exchanged for supermarket gift cards to be used against their shopping at www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk
If you are having problems exchanging your eCodes for vouchers the above video will talk you through the process.
Please note that the website for exchanging your vouchers is extremely busy, and you may be held in a queue, especially during the daytime.
Once you are on the website, you can top up your balance with as many new eCodes as you wish, before selecting your vouchers which can be for different supermarkets and for different amounts. Just choose the supermarket and the amount you would like and add it to your basket, repeat until you have all the vouchers you need adding up to the total balance.
The vouchers will all be sent to your email address and can then be saved to use at any time over the coming months (or longer in some cases depending on the supermarket – details are in each supermarket’s terms and conditions on the website)
The DfE have issued a very useful Frequently Asked Questions document, which is frequently updated and can be found here: Parent and Carer FAQs
This includes information such as how to redeem your vouchers, which supermarket's you can obtain vouchers for, if they can also be used online, how long the vouchers last for as well as answering many other common questions.
Change in Circumstances
At this time, many of our work situations are changing and there are more families claiming for universal credit as a result. If your situation has changed and you are now claiming benefits you may also be entitled to receive the food vouchers. It can take a few weeks for the Universal Credit system to update the DWP system and to then update the eligibility system, so do please keep checking.
Once eligible the school will start ordering your vouchers from the following Monday – the benefit and the vouchers cannot be back dated.
New Temporary Eligibility Criteria for Free School Meals – Updated 24th April 2020
The government have now temporarily extended the free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds.
These groups are:
Children of Zambrano Carers (a primary carer of a British citizen child, who is not a British citizen themselves and who if required to leave the UK would force the child to leave the EEA as well)
Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
Children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to no recourse to public funds restriction
These groups are also subject to a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum.
The government is also temporarily extending eligibility to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This group is not subject to a maximum household earnings threshold.
If you fall into one of the above categories, please contact the school to request an application form, which needs to be completed and returned, along with the proof as detailed in the form.
If you are eligible only under one of these criteria, then your eligibility will cease once the school reopens.
For further information, given by the government for parents and carers about schools and education during the coronavirus outbreak, including Free School Meals please click on the following link to be taken to the government website: