Parents and carers whose children may be eligible to receive Free School Meals due to the family’s financial circumstances are being urged to apply for them ahead of the upcoming May school holidays, even if their child is in Years R, 1 or 2.
The Government announced this month that it was extending its grant funding until Wednesday, June 20 to allow local authorities to help vulnerable families during the May holiday period.
Kent County Council will use some of its share of the money to provide families with one £15 voucher per eligible child for the week’s holiday, which can be spent in supermarkets and local shops.
Shellina Prendergast, Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We are very pleased the Government has agreed to extend its grant funding to allow local authorities to support vulnerable families for a longer period, including during the May half-term holiday.
“We know many Kent residents have struggled financially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and although lockdown restrictions are now starting to ease, some residents still require additional support and we are pleased to be able to offer it. We hope these vouchers will go some way towards reducing some of the pressure on vulnerable families during what is still a very difficult time for many.”
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 May 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 Free School 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 the December school holidays, February half-term, and Easter school holidays.
- Find out more about who is eligible and how to apply here: https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/free-school-meals