Free School Meals

(asked on 21st February 2020) - View Source

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of the funds on the cards of children entitled to free school meals was unspent in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of those unspent funds were (a) rolled over, (b) allocated to the school budget, (b) allocated to caterers and (c) allocated to local authorities.


Answered by
Vicky Ford Portrait
Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
This question was answered on 26th February 2020

Responsibility for free school meals and disadvantage policy is devolved and is therefore the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

Free school meals are intended as a benefit in kind, rather than a cash benefit, and our primary interest is that schools meet their legal duties to provide nutritious free lunches to eligible children. It is important that all pupils have access to healthy and nutritious meals at school and we would encourage all eligible children and parents to claim their free meals.

The department does not collect any information on the total or proportion of unspent funds at school or child level. We trust school leaders to make the best decisions in the interests of their pupils and it is right that they have flexibility around how they deliver free school meals. We know that some schools will allow pupils to carry over their benefit, however, we would not want to instruct schools to follow any specific approach nationally. We will consider how we can share the very best practice around the delivery of free school meals.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
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