City council to fund school meal vouchers for 61,000 children
Birmingham City Council is to fund vouchers for families of the 61,000 children who get free school meals.
Although the government's free school meal voucher scheme has yet to be published, the city council is ensuring that vulnerable children are not without food.
The voucher scheme, for use in major supermarkets, will be administered by schools who will issue electronic codes to families or print vouchers off for families who cannot access electronic codes.
Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture, said: "I’m really pleased with these steps that have been taken for the children entitled to free school meals as we respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
"We can’t wait until we get details of how the national voucher scheme will work, so we have made arrangements for Birmingham families to be able to access supermarket vouchers through their child’s school. Schools will be in contact with families in the coming days to let them know how they will receive their vouchers.
"Thousands of families across Birmingham rely on free school meals and it was really important for the council that the closure of schools did not lead to any children missing out on food. I’m delighted we have been able to put arrangements in place to prevent that from happening."
Details of the process have been shared with schools today and they will then be in touch with the families of their free school meals pupils early next week to make the necessary arrangements. The city council will keep these arrangements under review as and when government guidance is issued on how the national scheme will work.