Schools which are open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak are continuing to provide meal options for staff and children who are in school, and free school meals for all eligible pupils in attendance.
Children eligible for free school meals can now benefit from a national government voucher scheme allowing them to continue to access meals whilst they stay at home. Coventry schools are working very hard to ensure that all children entitled to Free School meals are able to access them.
Schools can now provide families with a weekly shopping voucher worth £15 for every eligible child to spend at supermarkets, and/or provide meals for collection or delivery themselves. Where this is not possible, schools can provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access.
Free school meals vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, and M&S, and the Department of Education is working to get more shops to join the scheme as soon as possible.
Once families have received their voucher, they will be able to redeem them in store at the selected retailer by either:
Families will then be able to select the most appropriate food and drink for their child/ren.
Children can access this on a weekly basis and schools will also be able to continue using the national voucher scheme during the Easter holidays.
If you are in need of food and emergency supplies then we may be able to help. As part of our approach to supplying food to those in need in the city at this time, we are able to provide emergency food parcels to those children/students attending primary and secondary schools, for families are struggling or facing difficult or challenging circumstances. This could be through your school, or your local Emergency Food Hub through the provision of a Foodbank voucher and household pack.
You may also be entitled to apply for a Community Support Grant, including a Crisis Fund.
You could also contact your local Family Hub, who will be able to talk to you about what you and your children need and can provide you a food Bank voucher and help you access support through an Emergency Food Hub and other sources of help that you that need.
We have been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: 'As schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported.'
We can confirm that this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Free School Meal eligibility has been temporarily extended with immediate effect, to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). It is anticipated that this extension will end when schools have reopened to all children.
These groups are:
These groups are subject to a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum.
We are also temporarily extending eligibility to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This group is not subject to a maximum household earnings threshold
We are working with colleagues in children’s social care and partner organisations, who are likely already supporting these families, to identify those children that are now entitled.
Please note that these changes do not apply to children of EEA nationals who may also be in need as some are also not be entitled to claim benefits. For these children schools should use the emergency food parcel route. Families should contact their school and arrangements can be put in place, or please contact the COVID-19 helpline and you will be issued a foodbank voucher to use at one of the 10 emergency food hubs.
You will need to contact your child’s school, and they will support you to complete a short application form which includes a self-declaration statement. They will then be able to provide you with free school meals, through a voucher system or alternative means.
In a recent High Court case, the Home Office made a series of concessions for those who have leave to remain with a No Recourse to Public Funds endorsement.
They can apply to change their status if:
This is an opportunity for those who are finding it hard to manage to apply to vary the conditions of their leave to remain. This allows people who are now unable to work because of COVID-19 to have immediate access to welfare support.
Coventry Law Centre Immigration Team can provide assistance with this application and can be contacted via the Law Centre Helpline on 07946 881145 or 07957 711080, or email [email protected]