UK schools are told not to provide free meals for their students at half-term

Arguments have once again arised when it was found out that the government has told schools not to supply food vouchers, parcels and meals to disadvantaged children over February half-term.

Teachers, parents and council leaders expressed their undeniable frustration at the idea of children going hungry. On the 14th of January the Department of education stated “Schools do not need to provide lunch parcels or vouchers during the february half term”.

Instead, the plan has been set that there will be government support for the families and children than need it in the half-term.

Last November a winter package of 170m was arranged and produced from prior campaigns and debates. The government will be supporting those that they feel is in need of the help.

However, some describe this as them having ‘total disregard’ for those who need it but don’t fall into the government’s support category. As The Independent pointed out, “the fund does not offer blanket provision to every pupil who fits a certain definition of poverty in the same way school meals do.

Though some see this as an act of kindness on the Government’s behalf many are criticising the size and content of the food bags that they are giving out. It was described as “offensively meagre” when some home-learning children received it.

When Boris Johnson stated that the meals being given out was ‘disgraceful’, Labour replied back that the food contents matched the government guidelines. In some cases the food contents consisted of a small loaf of bread, a few pieces of vegetables and fruit, and some cheese slice- which is a lot less than the promised £15 a week per child.

The PM, Boris Johnson said the packages were an “insult to the families that have received them” and continued to make a promise that he will correct them.

Kate Green, the shadow education secretary said, “The Government should put it’s trust in parents by giving them the money for free school meals to ensure their children are not going hungry”

The constantly changing schemes that the government continuously puts out are described by many as causing “chaos” and “confusion”.

The DfE has now made the decision to tell schools that they will be able to receive a voucher if the food parcels from here on out do not meet the standards and expectations of a full £15 per week per child picture.

When talking to a parent who is currently in a financial struggle she explained the situation as the following “ The government stopping free school meals is enough to turn any parent in my place insane. What happens when the small amount of 2 tins and three slices of bread runs out in just a few days, my child will have to starve? It’s disgusting.” She then went on to saying that. “The vouchers and free school meals should be brought back, that way we can be sure our children are eating enough to survive this pandemic or even just be given the money ourselves so we can get the right sorts of foods that we know our children will need.”

One source showed that the LGA admitted the winter grant was never meant to replace the free school meals, but to actually help them. They protested to allow the continuation of food vouchers to eligible families during half-term.

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