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Providing meals for pupils attending school

Posted in General News & Helpful Tips

Schools should provide meal options for all pupils who are in school. Meals should be available free of charge to:

  • all infant pupils
  • pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria

The government will continue to provide schools with their expected funding for benefits-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals throughout this period.

Schools should speak to their school catering team or provider about the best arrangements for providing school meals for pupils in school.

Schools should make sure that they identify pupils with any medical conditions, including allergies, to ensure that all pupils are able to eat a school lunch safely. This is particularly important in circumstances where caterers are not serving meals to pupils directly but where for example, pupils are being served food in the classroom.

The Food Information Regulations 2014 require all food businesses including school caterers to show the allergen ingredients’ information for the food they serve. This makes it easier for schools to identify the food that pupils with allergies can and cannot eat. Further information is available in allergy guidance for schools.

On 8 March, all pupils returned to school and should receive their meal on-site. Where pupils eligible for benefits related free school meals are self-isolating at home, schools should work with their school catering team or food provider to provide good quality lunch parcels. This will ensure that eligible pupils continue to be supported for the short period where they are unable to attend school.

All meals and other food provided during the school day, including in breakfast and after school clubs, must comply with the school food standards.

Further reading