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Holiday Free School Meals- October and December 2023

We would like to extend our thanks to all Southwark schools for their cooperation with the successful changeover to the new delivery arrangements for Holiday Free School Meals that happened during the autumn half-term in October.

Thanks to your cooperation, we received data from more than one hundred schools and were able to distribute more than fifteen and a half thousand vouchers to parents or carers of pupils attending Southwark schools and eligible for statutory free school meals  

As a result we were able to provide vital extra support during half term week worth almost a quarter of a million pounds, for low-income families many of whom are still struggling due to the impacts of the cost of living crisis.

We would particularly like to celebrate the success of the schools named below, all of which saw between 85% and 100% of the vouchers issued to their pupils redeemed before they expired. We offer a big well done to all those who contributed to this achievement

  • Dulwich Wood Nursery School
  • John Keats Primary School
  • John Donne Primary School
  • Surrey Square Primary School
  • Goose Green Primary School
  • Alfred Salter Primary School

A few hundred parents/carers contacted us to say they had not received the vouchers sent to them.  Further investigation revealed that this was usually because they had changed their contact details without informing the school.  The smaller-than-expected number of enquiries from parents suggests that the quality of the data provided by you is generally very high. However the feedback from parents means we can further improve the quality of data before Christmas

We will contact you again this week requesting your latest data before we distribute vouchers for the Christmas holidays that start in just a few weeks’ time.

The expiry date for almost all of the vouchers issued for the autumn half term has now passed. We can see that about two-thirds of all vouchers distributed were redeemed by the recipients before they expired. While we do not expect all vouchers to be redeemed, that is still a lower overall redemption rate than expected. Closer analysis reveals that while the voucher redemption rate for pupils of some schools was very high, for some other schools it was much lower.

The reasons for those low redemption rates need to be looked into and in the New Year we will contact schools with lower-than-expected levels of redemption separately to explore the reasons and offer support   We aim to boost the overall redemption rate for vouchers to at least 75% by the February half-term and look forward to working with you to attain this target.