West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) has announced that free school meal vouchers will be issued to those most in need during May half-term.
Chronicle & Echo previously reported that a number of schools had contacted parents to say they had been informed by WNC that the scheme would not run during the upcoming school holiday.
The scheme is said to support 9,500 families by providing them with a £15 meal voucher per child to pay for lunch during the week-long school holiday.
WNC did not respond to an initial request for comment, but in a statement released this morning (May 11), the council has since said Government funding for free school meals during holidays first set up at the start of the pandemic has ended, but they have “tapped” into the Household Support Fund to pay for the vouchers.
Councillor Fiona Baker, WNC Cabinet member for children, families and education said: “We might feel that the pandemic is over, but the cost of living is putting immense pressure on household budgets.
"It cannot go on forever, but we will do as much as we can to shield children from the impact of those increasing costs."
It is, of course, good news that the scheme is continuing for the next school holidays, however, it is important to understand how and why schools were led to believe that the scheme had ended, as this in turn will have caused concern and worry for parents, which could have been avoided.
Editor’s note: This newspaper has asked the council for clarity about the sequence of events and how schools were led to believe the scheme had ended. An update will be posted as soon as a response is received.