How much should the free school meals really be worth?
Free school meals are typically £ 2.34 per student per day. An additional £ 3.50 per seven days has been added for blocking, which equates to £ 15.20 per week.
The government has directed schools to work with their school catering team or providers to put the grocery packages together, especially when the kitchens are open.
In contrast to the first blocking, vouchers will only be taken into account when all efforts to provide the supply boxes have been exhausted.
The government guidelines vaguely suggest, "You can consider other local arrangements including vouchers for local shops and supermarkets".
School costs for the provision of the vouchers can then be reimbursed by the government at £ 15 per week.
A school catering source told MailOnline: "The staff have never seen anything like it. They are working on a pandemic to make the food boxes for the parents that some don't even collect.
"For those of the school staff who were expecting 120 children from the parents of key workers and vulnerable children for free school meals, 40 came."
Grocery parcels meant to feed school children instead of a £ 30 voucher have sparked disbelief after they were found to cost only £ 5.22 – raising questions about where the money went and an investigation on Downing Street.
Free school meals are worth £ 15.20 per student per week, but a mother showed yesterday that her child's basket can be bought for a third of the price for the fortnight.
It was provided by Chartwells, Compass Group UK & Ireland's educational catering specialist with sales of £ 24.8 billion.
The company, whose managing director is named Charlie Brown, insisted today that it follow government guidelines for all of its packages.
However, she admitted that the basket shown did not meet these criteria and immediately opened her own investigation.
When Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford tried to get free meals to children who need them, replies to the picture, more pictures emerged showing a huge gap in food quality and amount.
Today the government said it was "urgent" to examine claims that the free school lunch packages only contained a few pounds of groceries. Meanwhile, doctors at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health were writing to the government asking if they were nutritious enough for children.
Unlike the initial lockdown, schools receive a grant from the government that they can spend to get coupons for students or use a contractor to deliver packages.
This time the government has asked schools to sort packages for the students to ensure a balanced diet.
Up until that week, suppliers were working at a cost of £ 2.34 per day per student, but on Friday the government increased that by £ 3.50 per week.
This Chartwells box that is supposed to be valid for ten days instead of a £ 30 voucher
The Manchester United and England footballer (pictured in a grocery bank with his mother Melanie last year) responded to an outraged mother who popped a 10-day basket
This grocery package was supposed to feed a child for a week, but the suppliers forgot to add bread
There are big differences in the quality of the grocery packages sent to students during the lockdown
This is part of two boxes sent every week to feed two students during the pandemic restrictions
This sad looking vegetable is part of one of the grocery packages sent to closed school students
This image posted online showed a basket that could be bought from a company for £ 30
Rashford shared a post from a mom – @RoadsideMum – who posted a picture of a basket of bread, cheese, two carrots, and a can of baked beans.
She wrote: & # 39; Issued £ 30 vouchers instead. I could do more with 30 pounds to be honest. The private company that has the #FSM contract made good profits here. & # 39;
Rashford commented, “Where is this being introduced? If families are entitled to £ 30 worth of groceries, why is the delivery just over £ 5 ?!
This Woodside Primary Academy student's grocery package should last a week
Some boxes received praise from parents. St. Dunstans School in Glastonbury received top marks for the first day, including sandwiches and wraps from Real Wrap Co.
Slammed solid behind Rashford's lunch
The company behind the lunches is Chartwells, Compass Group UK & Ireland's educational catering specialist with sales of £ 24.8 billion.
On December 8th, Chartwells announced that it had joined the Child Food Poverty Taskforce formed by Marcus Rashford MBE.
Charlie Brown, General Manager of Chartwells, said at the time: “The Marcus Rashford campaign highlights the problem of food poverty among children.
“We know the importance of nutritious food in education and that food availability is a real problem for some families. We therefore fully support the expansion of access to free school meals.
“We will now work with the Task Force to provide healthy meals during the school holidays for those eligible for free school meals. As the first caterer on board, I believe that our insights and our networks in schools will be valuable to really improve young life. & # 39;
Until December of that year, Tory donor Paul Walsh was the chairman of Compass, the millionaire who proves in electoral commission documents that the party received £ 10,000 in 2010.
Companies House documents indicated that he resigned on December 1 a little over a month ago, almost a year after announcing he would do so.
& # 39; 1 child or 3, what do you get? Unacceptable. & # 39;
Alongside another picture of a small grocery package, he said, "3 days of food for a family … just not good enough."
The 23-year-old continued, “Then imagine that we expect the children to study from home.
"Not to mention the parents who sometimes have to teach them that they probably haven't eaten anything so their kids … We HAVE to do better. That is 2021. & # 39;
In the late morning he added: “The appreciation of the FSM Hampers has not yet come into play.
“We have so many independent companies that have struggled through 2020. Why can't we mobilize them to help distribute food packaging? Or am I naive? & # 39;
Sir Keir wrote: “The pictures appearing online of totally inadequate free school lunch packages are a shame.
& # 39; Where is the money going? This needs to be sorted out immediately so that families do not starve from lockdown. & # 39;
The Department of Education said it would investigate claims that free school meals are not providing enough food.
It was posted on Twitter: & # 39; We're looking into this. We have clear guidelines and standards for grocery packages that we are expected to adhere to. Packages should be nutritious and contain a diverse range of foods. & # 39;
Children Minister Vicky Ford said: "I will take care of this urgently – food packages should cover all lunches and be nutritious – we have increased funding for packages and will support local vouchers – national vouchers will also be introduced as soon as possible, day and night. Hope your kids are ok @roadsidemum. & # 39;
She added: One of the reasons some schools have used grocery packages instead of vouchers is because it helps them keep in touch with families.
Football player's food goals
Footballer Rashford has been at the forefront of the free school lunch campaign since the pandemic began.
During the initial lockdown, students were given free vouchers in the closed facilities, but these were originally canceled for the summer vacation.
Rashford campaigned for them to continue and successfully convinced the government to change its mind.
He wanted the authorities to continue until Easter this year, but it was refused.
But the government then said it would set aside £ 170 million for groceries over the Christmas break.
Boris Johnson called the footballer directly to give him the news in November.
“Unfortunately, the risk for some children increased during the pandemic. Call @NSPCC if you are concerned about a child. & # 39;
Skint Dad's Naomi Willis commented, “While some grocery packages appear to be of good quality, there is a distinct lack of consistency compared to the previous coupon scheme.
“The food parcels provided to parents in the current lockdown should be able to feed a child for a week, but what we've seen from members of the Skint Dad community is far from and clearly not good enough.
“This increases the pressure on parents who have problems and leaves children caught in the middle in the lurch.
"The system needs to be checked immediately to make sure all children are being adequately fed or the previous voucher program will be reintroduced today."
Parents said the meals were distributed to children studying from home by a private contractor.
According to government guidelines for the free school lunch program, institutions can apply for an additional £ 3.50 per student on top of what they receive.
It reads: "We strongly encourage schools to work with their school catering team or grocery suppliers to provide grocery packages to eligible students who are at home."
It adds, "Where school kitchens are open, this should be the schools approach."
Chartwells said this morning, “We take our responsibility to provide children with access to nutritious foods very seriously.
“We have worked hard to produce food baskets at incredibly short notice in these challenging times.
& # 39; Our barriers follow DofE specs and contain a variety of ingredients to help families provide meals during the week.
& # 39; We have received positive feedback in most cases.
"In this case, the picture on Twitter does not meet our reservation specification and we are very interested in contacting the relevant school so that we can resolve any operational problems that may arise."
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