Education Planning Group Update... February half-term FSM voucher offer

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In today's update:


Dear Colleagues,

We are providing this additional communication today to give you an update on the February half-term ‘Free School Meal’ voucher offer.

Please do take some time to read the information in this update carefully.

Best wishes,

Dan

dan barton

February Half-Term Holidays ‘Free School Meal’ Voucher Offer

WONDE FSM ‘Pay by LA’ window opens at 8am Wednesday 2nd February 2022.

Please do not order before this date as you will be required to pay with your school credit card.

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

WONDEs FSM software’s new name is evouchers.com

You can log on the old system ‘schoolvouchers.com’ and you will automatically be taken to the new evouchers.com. 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 FSM young person is able to access a FSM voucher over the February half-term holiday. The vouchers will have a value of £15 [5 days at £3 per day] for each eligible child and are fully funded by Cumbria County Council using COVID Grant Fund. The number of weekdays covered by the offer [5] is mapped to Cumbria County Council’s published term time dates.

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 2nd February and close at 5pm on Tuesday 15th February 2022.

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 FSM young people to cover the Feb Half-Term holidays. Please continue with your own local solutions for term time.

If you need to check the latest FSM numbers for your school, please contact Jason Spedding on 07774016810 or via email Jason.spedding@cumbria.gov.uk

FAQ's and a sample letter to parents are included below in support materials.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What are the arrangements for schools not using Wonde?

The Cumbria/WONDE e-voucher scheme is the FSM option due to administration and funding arrangements. If you do not wish to use the e-voucher scheme because you have an existing local solution, it is vital you please get in touch with Ez Wealleans via email: ellen.Wealleans@cumbria.gov.uk so this can be discussed and funds set aside to cover your costs.

What is Wonde?

Wonde is an application that takes key information from schools’ SIMS and other Management Information Systems such as Arbour automatically and uses it to inform another process or system. This is done in a secure fashion and because the process is automated it speeds it up and saves multiple data entry. Many schools will have already come across Wonde because they use software that uses it – including ParentApp and Renaissance.

For further information please visit evouchers.com

Why am I being asked to set up a Wonde Account?

The Council have identified e-vouchers as a way of providing funds to ensure those children who are entitled to a free meal over the Feb Half-Term holidays are able to have one. To use this application schools need to have a Wonde account.  Most schools already have an account because they use applications such as ParentApp or Renaissance that use Wonde for data extraction from SIMS but others won’t and are being asked to set one up.

How can I set up an account?

You have been sent a link to the Wonde website where you can enter your details.  Wonde will then contact you.  Wonde have been notified that Cumbria is implementing this solution and a list of schools has been supplied to them.  In this way we aim to ensure that every school that doesn’t have an account will have one set up.  The schools’ SIMS Support Team will need to set up a user account for Wonde on their SIMS database to enable them to extract the data needed.  By applying for the account you are giving us permission to do this on your behalf.  If your school database is hosted by a MAT trust, you will need to liaise with your technical team to get this completed.

What about GDPR?

Wonde are ISO 27000 industry standard approved. WONDE software is designed to extract only the parent/carer data required.

Full details can be found on the WONDE website.

How do I order the e-vouchers?

When you log on to the portal, you will be able to activate the e-voucher application by following the prompts.   Wonde will use the contact information in the Parent and Home Tab of SIMS to email/text the parents/carers of eligible children so it is important that the information is entered correctly.  User notes have been provided previously but are included with this communication.  Please note that the voucher value for Cumbria benefits-related FSM offer over the Feb Half-Term holidays is £15 per voucher [5 days x £3].

Will families know that the communication from Wonde is legitimate and not a scam?

The Council will promote the Wonde e-voucher scheme through media comms but schools should act before this promotion to ensure all the parent contact information needed is on SIMS. Schools should think about how they can let families know about this; they could put a message on the school website, Twitter or Facebook Account or with a push notification from ParentApp if they have it.  Wonde will use the contact information from SIMS to ask families to nominate a supermarket where they will spend the e-voucher, but this shouldn’t be the first time the family hear about the approach.  Schools know the best way of communicating with their families. A template letter is attached to adapt.

What if families don’t get a communication from Wonde?

If the mobile phone contact details have been entered into SIMS correctly, there is no reason why families won’t be contacted.  However, schools should stress the importance of accurate contact details to families and give them the means of providing them to ensure the system can work efficiently.  Again, this information can be posted on the website and made available through other social media platforms. 

What if families have questions about how the process works?

Wonde have a set of guidance notes that will explain how the process works and what families need to do.  Schools will be able to issue these notes to families.

Contact:

We’ve done everything we can but we still don’t have a way of getting an e-voucher to families or families don’t have a means of accessing them i.e. a smartphone – what can we do?

If families are unable to access a voucher on a smartphone, they should let their school know as soon as possible. Alternative arrangements include the school receiving the vouchers and printing on behalf of parent/carer.

Is there a cost for this to the school or the families?

No, Wonde have confirmed the software is available free of charge. Cumbria County Council will be invoiced for the school’s Feb Half-Term voucher offer.

When do we start issuing vouchers in this way and how long do we do it for?

Schools will be starting to issue vouchers as soon as numbers have been confirmed and the system is set up and will continue to do so until every eligible young person has been accounted for on the SIMS system. A deadline for WONDE e-vouchers applications has been set for Tuesday the 15th February 2022. This is because Cumbrian schools will close on Friday the 11th February 2022 and any follow up for parents/carers with the school would be difficult.

Who do I speak to if I have a question?

If you have a question about WONDE contact details are: 

Wonde will provide further information when the school account is activated. 


Support materials including sample letter to parents

Sample letter to parents:

Letter to headteachers (as above):

WONDE Information and Support

evouchers.com (formerly Schoolvouchers.com) Email: support@evouchers.com Web: evouchers.com Support: help.evouchers.com