Martin Ford 15 January 2021

Councils told to provide free school meals during half term

Councils told to provide free school meals during half term image

Councils have been tasked with providing free meals to school children during half term week next month, prompting an outcry from the sector.

The Government has published guidance for schools stating local authorities are expected to take responsibility, using the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

It states: ‘Local authorities have local ties and knowledge, making them best placed to identify and help those children and families most in need.’

The Local Government Association (LGA) has pointed out guidance on the COVID Winter Grant Scheme published in November that states it ‘is not intended to replicate or replace free school meals and authorities should avoid duplicating provision where possible’.

The fund is intended to help cover the cost of energy and water bills, in addition to food.

The LGA has said Government should provide food vouchers, as was the case during the summer.

Teaching unions have also criticised the move, with the National Education Union claiming: ‘asking local councils to create another system of supplying free school meals for February half-term simply adds confusion’.

Chair of the LGA’s resources board, Cllr Richard Watts, said: ‘Government was explicit that the Covid Winter Grant Scheme (CWGS) was not intended to replicate or replace free school meals, but was to enable councils to support low income households, particularly those at risk of food poverty as we moved towards economic recovery.

‘The CWGS is only a short-term fix so in order to enable local government to continue to play a vital role in supporting families facing hardship, a more sustainable, long-term solution that does not rely on inefficient short-term funding is needed to meet the needs of low income families, particularly with households in hardship other than those eligible for free school meals and some new to the benefits system.’

This week the Government has come under fire after pictures appeared on social media of ‘disgusting’ free school meal parcels.

Regenerating public realm for climate change image

Regenerating public realm for climate change

The regeneration of White Hart Lane in Tottenham, London has shown has permeable paving and street trees should can help address climate change while delivering SuDS. Chris Hodson reports.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Highways Operative - Barrow x4

Cumbria County Council
£22,571 – £23,484
We are looking to recruit a new Highways Operative to our Highways Service. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Refugee Resettlement Interpreter - Ukrainian and Russian

Cumbria County Council
£28,226 - £29,174
‘Homes for Ukraine’ is the Government’s initiative to supporting those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Cumbria / Countywide
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Safer Spaces Community Safety Enforcement Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£31,122 - £32,112
Our Community Safety Enforcement Officers are responsible for improving community safety outcomes throughout the Royal Borough’s main Town Centres. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Enforcement Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£31,122 - £32,112
The Royal Borough of Greenwich are looking for dedicated, enthusiastic, and compassionate individuals. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Communications and Engagement Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£38,385 to £41,586
We’re looking for an enthusiastic and dedicated communications professional to join our team. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.