Education Planning Group: Free school meal voucher scheme set to launch

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In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues, 

Apologies for an update on a Friday but the meal voucher scheme is time sensitive and we wanted to ensure you got this information as soon as it was available.

And also a bit of news we missed in yesterday's update is that Ashfield Junior has become one of the EEF's Research Schools. This is great news and I'd encourage you to have look at what they'll be doing.


Dan Barton,

Assistant Director  - Education and Skills

Summer Holidays ‘Free School Meal’ Voucher Offer

  • Voucher scheme opens on Wednesday 7 July 2021 at 8am

  • Please ensure your school administrator is aware of this date and orders accordingly

  • WONDE's new name is

You can log on the old system and you will automatically be taken to the new site. It looks the same and ordering is the same, it’s just a new name.

Wonde have also introduced an optional App for parents to download, this does not affect the ordering or spending of vouchers, and parents are not obliged to use it.

The county council has again committed to ensuring every benefits-eligible free school meal young person is able to access a meal voucher over the Summer holiday. The vouchers will have a value of £99 (33 days at £3 per day) for each eligible child and are fully funded by Cumbria County Council using COVID Grant Fund monies.

The WONDE system ‘LA window’ (where the LA can be selected on the WONDE system to pay for your order) will open at 8am on Wednesday 7 July and close at 5pm on Tuesday 20th July

The WONDE system we are using enables a clear audit trail for DWP/COVID accounting purposes.

Please note schools should not pay for vouchers on a school card and when using WONDE must select ‘pay by LA’ from the drop-down menu.

Please also note the ‘pay by LA’ option is for your benefits-related free school meal young people to cover summer holidays. You should continue with your own local solutions for term time.

If you need to check the latest free school meal numbers for your school, please contact Jason Spedding on 07774016810 or via email

+ DOWNLOAD FAQs and sample letter to parents

Ashfield Junior joins EFF Research Schools network

Ashfield Junior School in Workington has been selected to form the Cumbrian Research School, joining the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) network of 27 Research Schools and 10 Associate Research Schools across England. Their main objective will be to establish new partnerships with local schools and provide effective guidance by promoting and exemplifying evidence-based practice.

The appointment of a new Research School in Cumbria will support an ambitious partnership with all Cumbrian schools, so that they are able to access training and support based on the best available evidence. They will become part of the Research Schools Network, working to support schools in applying evidence-informed recommendations in their approach to improving their pupils’ outcomes.