Coronavirus: Schools kept waiting for FSM vouchers

Schools unable to provide free school meals vouchers to families as they have not had contact from DfE supplier

Amy Gibbons

Coronavirus school closures: Schools are still waiting for free school meals vouchers to give to families

Schools are still waiting for an email enabling them to order free school meals vouchers, a day after the information should have been sent.

Teachers are reporting that some schools are yet to receive any communication from the government's supplier, Edenred, which was supposed to contact all schools yesterday.

The email will enable schools to obtain weekly vouchers worth £15 for vulnerable pupils.

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Responding to a tweet sent by the Department for Education this morning, Barbara Sims, chief finance officer at the Evolve Trust, said: "Please can you confirm when we will receive the email to set up the FSM scheme as not received for any schools in our trust?

Coronavirus response: providing free school meals

"Alternatively, can we continue using our current provider and be able to claim this back?"

Headteacher Glyn Bishop said: "Another school still waiting for our FSM email from Edenred.

"Can you confirm that not all schools have been emailed yet?"

An MFL teacher added: "Still no emails received from Edenred. When will schools have the information we need?"

Micon Metcalf, interim chief operating officer at the Inspiration Trust, also asked her Twitter followers last night if they had received the email and could share details with her.

Asked on social media when schools could expect to receive the emails, Edenred said: "The FSM welcome emails are being sent out across 31 March and 1 April.

"If you don't receive anything by tomorrow, please do let us know and we can investigate this further. Thank you."

The official DfE guidance, updated yesterday, states: "You will be able to access the voucher scheme using the Edenred portal. Edenred will send schools an activation email, explaining how to access the portal and order vouchers.

"The email will be sent on Tuesday 31 March to the email address DfE holds for your school.

"Once you have activated your account on the Edenred portal, you can begin to create vouchers. Edenred will provide schools with a step-by-step guide to ordering vouchers through their online portal."

Until now, many schools have been making their own arrangements for the collection or delivery of free meals.

They may continue to do so, but where this is not possible, the new scheme will allow them to provide vouchers to families electronically, or as a gift card for those without internet access.

The vouchers can be spent on food at a range of shops including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

The DfE says it is working to get more shops to join the scheme "as soon as possible".

The DfE and Edenred have been contacted for comment.

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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