Children in England who would normally receive free school meals will be given a £15 supermarket voucher while schools are shut amid the coronavirus crisis.
How will the vouchers work?
As reported by Schools Week, the vouchers will be provided by a third party which has been hired by the government, and they will be redeemable in all major UK supermarkets.
The voucher payments amount to £3 per day for each child, an increase of 70p on what schools are paid to provide free meals.
According to Schools Week, Head Teachers have been told about the scheme, but it has not been made clear whether vouchers will be available over the Easter holidays, which start this week.
In his daily press briefing, Boris Johnson promised that free school meals would continue, despite schools only being open for key workers' children. The move comes as catering firms have been criticised for the quality of food provided for the free school meals.
How do I claim the vouchers?
You can use the government website to check if your child is eligible for free school meals and, therefore, the temporary replacement voucher scheme. Any child already receiving free school meals will still qualify under the new scheme.
Schools are not normally expected to provide free school meals when kids are off sick, but this may differ under the voucher scheme.
Who can still attend school?
Children of key workers and vulnerable children are currently still able to attend school. Key workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket staff who need to be able to go to work during the current crisis.
Vulnerable children are also included in this exception, and are classified as children who have a social worker, and those with Education, Health and Care Plans - a legal document that outlines the child’s special education needs, and the support they require.