COVID-19 School Meals

COVID-19 School Meals

The latest update Providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak - GOV.UK contains information on the support available to schools during the national lockdown beginning January 2021.

This includes:

  • providing meals to pupils attending school
  • support for pupils who have to stay at home
  • voucher schemes
  • free school meals and covering costs

School kitchens can continue to operate, but must comply with the guidance for food businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Update from Simon James, Service Director: Education

You will be aware that over the last few days there has been a lot of attention on free schools meals, on social media and in the press. Much of this relates to the quality of food parcels that have been sent to parents across the country and this has also been an issue that has been identified in a small number of schools in Buckinghamshire.


Free School Meals

  • Before Covid pupils would receive a hot meal at school and this was funded through normal budget share allocations.
  • The daily value of free school meals is £3 per day or £15 a week.
  • In Buckinghamshire, there are close to 9,000 pupils who are in receipt of Free School Meals.
  • Yesterday’s (13th January) DfE data from schools  showed that  1,100 pupils are physically attending school.


Buckinghamshire Programme

As you will be aware, we have created a mechanism for our schools to access free school meal vouchers during the lockdown. The Local Authority has purchased an initial value of £100,000 worth of vouchers. Your school will have received information with instructions detailing how you order vouchers from the Local Authority via your normal traded services account. We have already had requests for nearly a thousand vouchers and the window for ordering for delivery tomorrow is 2pm this afternoon (14th January).

Food parcels

You will have seen in the press that the quality of food in FSM parcels is unacceptable. Our view as a Local Authority is that vouchers provide families with more choice than food parcels, allow them to buy food that is appropriate to their needs and ensures that they can seek the best value for money that they can achieve. We would encourage you please to use vouchers instead of food parcels.

Funding for FSM provision

For the Buckinghamshire programme if you follow our recommendation to provide or distribute vouchers to your families, once you have ordered, you will be invoiced on a monthly basis for the cost of the vouchers. This can be recouped from the DfE to ensure that there will be no loss to your school.

Thank you for all that you do during this time.

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