Free school meals are normally only provided when children are at school. Recognising the extraordinary times we are in, including when schools were kept open during the normal school holiday periods for vulnerable children and children of key workers, schools continued to provide meals themselves and where that was not possible, vouchers were made available.
Turning to this summer, the government had initially decide to use local councils to target support for families and children in need providing £63M in grants. Reflecting on public concern, the government has also established a new Covid Summer Food Fund to provide vouchers for the summer holiday period. The scheme will not continue beyond the summer, and those eligible will be those who already qualify for free school meals. A one-off six-week voucher will be given to eligible families at the end of term to use in supermarkets.
The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme will also be running this summer at a cost of £9 million, through which will benefit thousands of disadvantaged children. The HAF scheme arranges provision in a range of local settings, including school premises.