An upset mum has slated the free school meals scheme after she was sent a food parcel to feed her children for 10 days.
Parents of those kids who qualify for free school meals have been given the option of food parcels or vouchers now that schools are closed – though some schools do not offer vouchers.
On Twitter, the mum, @roadsidemum, posted a snap of a food delivery she was given which she estimated cost around £5.22 rather than the £30 of vouchers she could have been entitled to.
Since the post was published yesterday, the tweet has been liked 25,800 times and retweeted almost 12,000 times.
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Alongside a photo of the parcel, the mum wrote: “Free school meals bag for 10 days:
“2 days jacket potato with beans, 8 single cheese sandwiches, 2 days carrots, 3 days apples, 2 days soreen, 3 days frubes
“Spare pasta and tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.
“Issued instead of £30 vouchers.
“I could do more with £30 to be honest.”
And, footballer Marcus Rashford and Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner have commented on the situation.
Sharing Roadside Mum’s tweet, Marcus added: “Where is this being rolled out?
“If families are entitled to £30 worth of food, why is there delivery only equating to just over £5?!
“One child or three, this what they are receiving? Unacceptable.”
In another tweet he later added: “Children deserve better than this.”
In réponse to another small parcel of food, the 23-year-old footballer said: “Three days of food for one family…Just not good enough.
“Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home.
“Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can… We must do better. This is 2021″.
Fellow parents agreed with him.
One poster said: “Disgraceful. Schools should issue vouchers, parents know what their children will eat.”
While a bloke added: “That’s supposed to be ten days lunches??
“Fml, that’s bad. Not even butter for the bread, or something to put on toast.”
The Department for Education has said it is investigating images on social media purporting to show ‘free school meals’ sent to families during lockdown.
In a statement on Twitter it said: “We are looking into this. We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed.
“Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.”
It is believed that the food was sent by a private contractor who distributes supplies to home schooled children.
In the Government’s guidance for the scheme, it states Free School Meals allows schools to apply for an additional £3.50 per pupil, on top of whatever support they were already receiving, reports The Mirror.
The advice reads: “We strongly encourage schools to work with their school catering team or food provider to provide food parcels to eligible free school meal pupils who are at home.
“Where school kitchens are open this should be the approach taken by schools.”
Replying to the mum, Chartwells – part of the London Stock Exchange-listed food service giant Compass Group – said it would “investigate immediately”.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, this does not reflect the specification of one of our hampers,” it said, before asking for details of the school involved.