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Holiday Free School Meals

SELA nursery child

The Council is proposing to relieve schools of the burden of providing free school meals during the holidays for this school year.  Nina Dohel, Director of Education, shared the proposal for alternative arrangements at the Head teachers forum on the 16th November. 

Under the new arrangements, families would receive the same level of support as now, but delivered directly by the Council instead of the school.

Schools were in agreement with the change in principle and happy to work with the Council to implement it, but anxious that making the change at Christmas - with the holiday due to start in less than a month - could be high risk. 

In response to those concerns, the Council asks schools to continue to deliver free school meals in the holidays for all eligible children ahead of the upcoming Christmas and New Year break.

The Council will adopt a gradual and phased approach to the change in delivery arrangements for holiday free school meals, starting on a small scale at the February half-term.  The new arrangements will then be rolled out more widely during the rest of this school year.

In the recent Autumn Statement the Government announced that the grant funding that allows the Council to meet the cost of free school meals in the holidays will continue throughout the next financial year.  This is good news and means that holiday free school meals may continue for the rest of this school year – including the summer holiday in 2023 - and for most of the next school year – up to and including the Easter school holidays that begin in March 2024.

We will keep you updated on the progress of changes to the delivery arrangements for holiday free school meals and how these affect your school.

Southwark’s Offer – Christmas and New Year break 2022-2023:

Southwark remains committed to supporting its disadvantaged pupils during the Christmas and New Year break 2022 and will do this by using part of the Household Support Fund to fund meals for those pupils who are eligible to receive benefits-related FSM.

What costs can be claimed?     

The cost of meals/vouchers provided to any pupils entitled to benefits-related FSM during the Christmas and New Year break 2022-2023.

This includes;

  • All nursery pupils, regardless of whether they are part or full-time.
  • Those pupils who qualify under the temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups.

The claim period covers 11 week days, from Monday 19th December 2022 to Monday 2nd January 2023, inclusive.

How much is the cost of a meal or voucher?

Reimbursement will be at £3.00 per meal or voucher provided per week day, £33 in total for the 11 days of the Christmas and New Year break.

How to claim

For all pupils entitled to Free School Meals during the Christmas and New Year break 2022, all schools should;

  1. Download from their MIS, a report listing pupils entitled to FSM on Friday 16th December 2022;
  2. The report only requires UPNs of pupils eligible for FSM (no names, please);       
  3. Forward the report to Schools Finance by 5.00pm on Friday 13th January 2023.

Date that claims are to be made by is 5.00pm on Friday 13th January 2023.

If you have any questions please contact the Learning and Achievement Team or