National free school meals voucher scheme opens to orders

I have been notified by the Government that the national free school meals voucher scheme has opened to orders. Schools can begin ordering free school meal vouchers for eligible pupils from today, adding to the support available for disadvantaged families.

An online service for schools, the scheme allows schools to place orders for supermarket gift cards on behalf of parents and carers whose children are eligible for free school meals.

The vouchers are worth £15 a week per child and families can receive codes by email to redeem themselves, or as a gift card provided by post, collection or delivery to families without internet access.

In addition to the national scheme, schools can continue providing free meals to eligible pupils via lunch parcels, through catering suppliers, or via locally arranged solutions. This might include vouchers for a local shop or supermarket not currently included in the national scheme.

The Department for Education continues to work with LACA, the body representing school caterers to ensure lunch parcels and meals all meet high standards. Guidance developed by LACA and Public Health England is being updated to reflect the additional funding that has been provided to support schools and school caterers in following this approach.

You can read more about the scheme at:


  1. Mark B
    January 20, 2021

    Good morning

    Nice new website 🙂

    But it isn’t free though, is it ? It is free for those who may qualify which begs the question. If you cannot afford to feed YOUR child why have them in the first place ?

    Governments are there to govern, not to act as some sort of sudo charity.

    1. SM
      January 20, 2021

      If you cannot afford to feed your children, it may be because one of the wage-earners in your family has died of Covid 19 or been seriously affected by it, or perhaps your small business has folded because of the pandemic and there are no jobs available.

    2. jerry
      January 20, 2021

      @Mark B; Perhaps the parent(s) have hit hard times since having children, these are free school meals, not vouchers for Post-natal supplies!…

    3. Simeon
      January 20, 2021

      There is a profound difference between welfarism and charity. The issue in question is welfarism. Obviously free school meals are one example, but there are far more troubling examples. Your point about having children or not is unfortunate. Quite apart from the fact that circumstances can and do change between the decision to have a child and their arrival, and leaving to one side the value of fresh blood entering into society, the state should have absolutely no influence on a matter that is highly personal, intimate and private.

      1. Simeon
        January 20, 2021

        This was intended as a reply to Mark B. Teething troubles with the new system?

    4. turboterrier
      January 20, 2021

      Totally agree with you Mark B.
      It is all rather getting out of hand and the way it is going on, control as well.
      Parents of today are advocating their responsibilities, behaviour to teachers and welfare workers , discipline to the police service and now feeding them to the state. When and where will it stop. When I announced my wife was pregnant my mother words:- that’s lovely dear , you want them you have them and raise and pay for them. My goodness how the world has changed.

  2. DOM
    January 20, 2021

    Government conducted according to and in response to the most organised, loudest and most recognisable voices rather than flowing from party policy or driven by utility and need. Policy conducted by celebrity and driven by identity politics that forces the Tories into a corner from which they cannot escape.

  3. Narrow Shoulders
    January 20, 2021

    £15 per child per week for lunches?
    I can feed four for that much.
    Is this because politicians don’t know the price of milk.
    Plenty left over for fags and booze even if the supermarkets don’t accept these vouchers for booze and fags the claimants can just buy food that they would have otherwise bought in their weekly shop and use that saved money to buy booze and fags.
    This is another kick in the teeth for the workers who don’t get support. Thanks

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    January 20, 2021

    I do not think your text contrast is accessible Sir John. (Using Edge on a laptop). Suggest you ask your developer to check it against WCAG3 guidelines.
    I am never a fan of change unless it brings improved functionality so will leave comment on the upgrade for when I become used to it.

  5. Alan Jutson
    January 20, 2021

    Well I suppose its better than the Government actually trying to supply food, which was always a daft idea when you do not know what likes or allergies anyone has apart from the simple logistical nightmare of transporting such..

    I assume that these vouchers can only be redeemed for food and not for the purchase of fags, booze, or scratch cards.

    If such vouchers are subject to qualification on need, then surely that proves that the benefits system is not working as it should, or people have got their spending priorities very, very wrong.

  6. Iain Gill
    January 20, 2021

    Once again infant age children who are entitled to free school meals by virtue of their age rather than through means testing have been left out.

    I think that is a massive mistake, for lots of reasons.

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