Parents and carers whose children may be eligible to receive benefits-related Free School Meals are being urged to apply ahead of the upcoming summer school holidays.
It follows the government announcement that it is extending its grant funding until September to allow local authorities to help vulnerable families over the long break.
Kent County Council will use the money to provide families with one £15 voucher per eligible child per week of the holiday, which can be spent in supermarkets and local shops.
The council says eligible families of children in years R, 1 and 2 must also apply, even if they receive Universal Infant Free School Meals.
Shellina Prendergast, Kent County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, says she is pleased they can once again offer support to vulnerable families in Kent, in the form of food vouchers, during the school holidays.
“The summer holidays can feel very long for families who are struggling financially and we hope this will help to ease some of the pressure they are under,” she said.
“I would urge any parents and carers who believe their children may be eligible to receive Free School Meals to visit our website and apply as soon as possible so we can provide vouchers for everyone who is entitled to them and ensure all eligible families are benefiting from this fantastic scheme.”
Even if a child receives Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) during term-time, because they are in Year 2 or below, eligible families will still need to apply for benefits-related Free School Meals in order to receive vouchers during the summer half term break.
Both primary and secondary schools receive additional Government funding, called Pupil Premium, for each of their pupils who receive benefits-related Free School Meals. Schools use this funding to support pupils’ learning so signing up for the meals will likely benefit a number of pupils in addition to parents and carers’ own children.
Schools will allocate the vouchers to their pupils, as they have done during previous holiday periods, so parents and carers should direct any enquiries to their child’s school.
The scheme was launched towards the end of 2020 and vouchers were issued to families for all the school holidays since December 2020.
Find out more about who is eligible and how to apply here https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/free-school-meals
We have about 5,000 children who qualify for free school meals , the highest percentage in kent.
Would it be a good idea to let families spend their vouchers at Our Kitchen shops where they could get better value?