COVID-19: FSM Urgent Update

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schools update

Free School Meals (FSM) update for all schools March 31

As you may already be aware, the government has released updated guidance for the ‘benefits related’ Free School Meals in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance document can be found via the link below:

Summary of main points contained in the guidance:

  1. DfE Vouchers are for ‘benefits related’ FSM – not Universal FSM.
  2. DfE Vouchers are for term time only; where schools continue to provide food/ food parcels over Easter this will be managed within existing resources.
  3. The cost of vouchers under this new national scheme will be met by the DfE.
  4. You will be contacted about the DfE Voucher scheme via email from the DfE preferred provider ‘Edenred’, so please check your school ‘junk’ email.
  5. If you have not received an email by the 2nd April, please contact
  6. The current list of identified ‘partner’ supermarkets for the DfE funded Voucher scheme is as follows: Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer. It may not be convenient or possible for parents/guardians to visit one of these supermarkets and in this case, the school should continue to support pupils through the locally developed solution.
  7. Further DfE guidance for schools incurring additional costs in providing FSMs is not available. Please bear this in mind if your local solution does not include accessing the DfE funded Voucher scheme through Edenred.
  8. Pupils who become newly eligble for Free School Meals will also be supported and need to continue to apply in the usual way. The eligibility criteria can be found at:

Please consider:

  1. How you can support the County in ensuring every school is aware of opportunities and potential impact for implementing this guidance, in particular schools currently not open.
  2. Co-ordinating the response to this guidance across your clusters.
  3. Parental expectations given the significant media coverage of the new funded DfE Voucher scheme.
  4. You and your schools’ capacity to manage the practicalities of delivering this new funded DfE Voucher scheme.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Calum Campbell on 0797 144 6057 or or Ez Wealleans on 01229 480974 if you would like to discuss any aspect of this further.

As this is a matter of urgency we are sending out this early brief but will be in touch before the end of the day with further information and guidance.

A reminder to complete our data collection form

It is essential that we monitor demand for childcare on a daily basis. Please ensure you continue complete our attendance data form each day and return to Cumbria County Council:



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