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Welsh Government makes £7 million available to support pupils while schools are closed

Written by on 21st March 2020

The Welsh Government has today confirmed support for families of children who receive free school meals.

Up to £7 million of additional funding will be provided to local authorities to urgently provide financial assistance to families of pupils who rely on free school meals, but are unable to receive them due to school closures.

Guidance will be issued to local authorities to make arrangements to ensure children and young people eligible for free school meals receive access to alternative provision.

All local authorities across Wales have begun making emergency provision for families with meals, including collection facilities from schools, or food delivered to home or community locations.

Local authorities will also have the option of providing gift cards and e-vouchers from local food retailers and distribute them to families. The guidance will be designed to ensure good practice continues.

The measures are intended to be a speedy, but temporary, solution while other options are implemented and a more comprehensive package of support is provided to vulnerable families.

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:

I have been clear that while we take decisive and essential action to fight the coronavirus, we must not forget children for whom school provides much more than their education.

It is vital that children who receive free school meals are able to continue to benefit from this support during this period of uncertainty. 

I have already informed local authorities of this additional funding, which will allow them to address immediate needs at a local level – and at pace – so support can get to children and families who need it most.”