Just to recap and update where we are with additional funding for Free School Meals. We appreciate it is confusing as there is funding in schools from the DFE and the additional funding from Somerset County Council:
- Christmas Holidays and Feb Half term: The DFE/schools are not responsible for meals in the school holidays. Somerset County Council has provided additional funds to schools enabling them to provide vouchers for FSM for both the two weeks at Christmas and Feb half term. Also Somerset County Council have provided 15% to help schools help other families. Funding is based on December 2020 numbers. Academies have received this funding. LA schools will receive this funding as part of their allocation this month (Feb).
- Lockdown 3 first 6 weeks (Jan and Feb): Although the DFE is responsible for meals during term time SCC were concerned that families needed more than the DFE suggested box of food. Somerset agreed additional funding of £3 a week per FSM child to enhance the contents of the box and an additional budget of 15% for families who are not eligible for free school meals. Subsequently the DFE have provided an additional £3.50 for packing and offering parents vouchers to help schools. LA schools and Academies will receive the Somerset County Council funding in the Feb allocation. Funding is based on Jan 2021 FSM numbers.
- Feb Half Term: Somerset County Council is providing funds for schools to provide vouchers for FSM children. Please see arrangements for the Christmas holidays above.
- Lockdown 3 additional 2 weeks (till 8th March): The DfE are funding the extra £3.50 per week for FSM and offering vouchers for lockdown including the extra 2 weeks. As contingency schools should use the additional funding SCC provided ahead of DfE putting this in place. Consultation suggests this should be sufficient
As with the Christmas Vouchers, if your school would like help to administer the Feb half term vouchers please contact Diane Batstone DBatstone@somerset.gov.uk
If you have a family who need support please encourage them to contact Somerset Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275 which will help by linking your families to appropriate support, depending on their needs - including for food.
If your school has any questions about school meals and catering please contact Brendan O'Connell BOConnell@somerset.gov.uk – School Catering Adviser.
If you have questions about the funding please contact Teri Colverwell TPColverwell@somerset.gov.uk
We would like to thank all the school staff involved in supporting families with the Holiday vouchers and the giving support to those families in need but not in receipt of free school meals, we understand it is additional work at an already very difficult time.