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Council outlines its stance on free school meals

West Berkshire Council has said that children who are entitled to free school meals will be "given food of the right quality while they are learning at home" following a backlash over the last week after pictures of sub-standard food parcels elsewhere in England were posted online.

The food parcel picture which caught everyone's attention

During the national lockdown, the Council says its schools will continue to support children eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are at home during term time.


Schools will continue to receive their expected funding for benefits-related free school meals throughout this lockdown period. The current funding for schools to cover the additional cost for pupils at home is:

  • up to £3.50 per eligible pupil, per week, where lunch parcels are being provided

  • up to £15 per eligible pupil, per week, where vouchers for local shops or supermarkets are being provided

Cllr Dominic Boeck, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education at West Berkshire Council, stated that it is important that all children in all schools are given good wholesome food that is enough for their needs.


He went to say: "I am determined that children who are entitled to free school meals are given food of the right quality while they are learning at home.


“Schools and their governors are responsible for school meals and they have the freedom to decide on the best approach for their pupils. If there are any problems we are ready to support them.


“Over Christmas we distributed 3,600 food vouchers to make sure children at home had enough. We have asked all our schools if they would like us to provide them with vouchers until the Department for Education relaunch their scheme.”

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