DfE update

National voucher scheme launched for schools providing free school meals

Children eligible for free school meals can benefit from a national voucher scheme whilst they stay at home. This delivers on the Government’s commitment to provide ongoing support for the 1.3 million children that would receive benefits-related free school meals at their school.

Schools can now provide every eligible child with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus.

Schools can continue to provide meals for collection or delivery themselves, but where this is not possible, the scheme will allow schools to provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access.

Parents will receive the voucher through their child’s school, which can then be redeemed online via a code, or sent to their house as a gift card and used at supermarkets across the country.

Today, schools will receive an email from the Department for Education’s chosen supplier, Edenred, explaining how to access and administer the voucher scheme locally.

Full details of this scheme can be found here:

Stay up to date with the latest coronavirus information

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Collection of guidance for educational settings on GOV.​UK

All of the Department for Education’s coronavirus guidance for educational settings can now be found in one place on GOV.​UK at:

Our main guidance for schools, the ‘school closures guidance’, will be regularly kept up-to-date. Any new advice for schools on specific issues, such as food, exams or safeguarding, will be linked from it:

Handwashing advice

The most important thing individuals can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water. Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and whenever you return home.

The latest guidance and video on hand washing can be found here:

Department for Education coronavirus helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), 10am to 4pm (Saturday to Sunday)