FREE school meals will still be available to low income families across the county during the coronavirus crisis.

The Department of Education announced today (March 19) that families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving support even if they are not attending school.

Schools will be able to provide meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops, which can be sent directly to families who are either self-isolating at home or whose schools are closed on government advice.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for education and skills, said: “I’m really pleased that central government has ensured that children who are eligible for free school meals will still receive their daily meal.

“These meals provide vital reassurance to families, ensuring that children will continue to receive the vital nutrition they need.

“These meals are vitally important to the children and families that receive them, so these hot meals, food or vouchers whilst they are unable to attend school are a great step.

“We will be sharing the newly-published guidance on this with headteachers across the county shortly.”

The government also confirmed the total value of vouchers offered to each eligible child per week will exceed the rate it pays to schools for free school meals.