COVID-19 Schools and Education

Summer Food Voucher Scheme in Sutton

Background

Sutton Council will be providing a food support package for families whose children go to Sutton Schools and are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) to ensure children don’t go hungry over the Summer half-term break (31 May - 4 June). We will provide funding through the Covid Local Support Grant received from Central Government. .

Parents/carers of children that are registered for free school meals at their school do not need to apply, your school (whether in the London Borough of Sutton or in another Local Authority area) will distribute vouchers to eligible families directly. This will apply for the vast majority of pupils eligible for the voucher.

There will be some low income families who are eligible for a food voucher for the summer half-term, but do not currently attend a school (i.e pre-school children or your child is home educated). Further details as to who can review a food voucher and how you can apply is set out  in the Frequently Asked Questions below. 

The deadline to apply for a food voucher for eligible children that do not attend a school is 27 May 2021.

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions below carefully before applying for a voucher. 

What are Free School Meals?

Ordinarily, the Free School Meals (FSM) entitlement is only available during term time, not during school holidays. However, the Government has provided local authorities with a Covid Local Support Grant that Sutton Council will use to support families with access to food during School holidays through allocating food vouchers. 

Free School Meals (FSM) entitlement means that pupils are registered to receive free school dinners during term time, free of charge.

All pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 receive the free school meals at school without an application process as part of the existing universal free school meals offer. (UFSM). However, to receive a food voucher for the Summer half term break your child must be registered for free school meals (FSM) at the School they attend. You can apply for FSM on the Council’s website, see here for more information

For Free School Meals beyond Year 2 for low income families who receive benefits (Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support, Child Tax Credits, Universal Credit and some other benefits) you may be eligible for free school meals and can apply on the Council’s website, see here for more information. You will need to do this to be eligible for FSM to receive a food vouchers for the Summer  Half term.

Support for Families over School holidays (Summer Half Term- 31 May - 4 June 2021 )

Sutton Council is working with Sutton Schools and education settings to distribute food vouchers to families who have pupils eligible for Free School Meals or Early Years Pupil Premium. Vouchers are worth £3 a day for each eligible pupil and will be provided for the number of days in each holiday period (10 days for Christmas, 5 days for February half term and 9 days over Easter and 5 days over the summer half term). Vouchers can be used in supermarkets chosen by parents/carers.

For the vast majority of eligible families, Schools will issue vouchers through the following platform: https://www.schoolvouchers.com/ automatically using the information they already hold on eligible families (parents/carers do not need to apply). 

There may be some families that have pre-school aged children who will not be able to receive vouchers from a school. In these cases we are asking them to complete a short application form to receive a voucher and the Local Authority will issue vouchers.

 

Can I apply for free school meals

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The questions and answers below are designed to answer the most common questions about the scheme. If you still have queries about the scheme having read the below you can contact education.sendfeedback@sutton.gov.uk

Who is eligible for the free school meals voucher scheme in Sutton over the Summer half term? 

Sutton Council will provide food vouchers if:

  • You have a child attending a school in Sutton and they are registered for Free School Meals (FSM).
  • You have a child attending an Early Years Setting in Sutton for their Free Childcare entitlement and (i) the child is aged 2 and taking up their free entitlement OR (ii) the child is aged 3 or 4 and is registered for the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)
  • You are resident in the London Borough of Sutton, would be eligible for free school meals under the current criteria but are currently electively home educating a child of statutory school age or are in Education Other than at School. 

How do I know if I am eligible?

Most parents/carers will know if they have registered for free school meals at their school (because their children will be receiving them). However if you are unsure you can check with your school if you have registered for free school meals with them or not. If you haven’t registered but think you might be eligible you can ask them about how to apply or alternatively visit see here for more information

If you are a parent/carer of a child aged 2 taking up the free childcare entitlement in Sutton you are automatically eligible and you can apply using this application form.  To check if you are eligible for this entitlement visit www.sutton.gov.uk/2yearolds.

If you are a parent/carer of a child aged 3 or 4 and attend a Sutton early years setting you can check with your setting to see if you are registered for the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP). EYPP is additional funding that is allocated to the setting for eligible families. If registered you will have given your early years setting permission to check your details alongside the agreement to take up the free childcare entitlement. 

Some families choose to home educate their children. Normally, this means that they cannot register for free school meals because the child is not in school. However,  we want to make sure that low income families that are electively home educating their children have access to this scheme. If this is the case you can apply using the application form included on this page.

If you are unsure if you are eligible or not please contact education.sendfeedback@sutton.gov.uk and will be pleased to support you. 

If you are unsure if you are eligible or not please send an email

So my child is eligible - how can I get my food voucher?

Pupils who attend a Sutton school, and are eligible and have registered for Free School Meals will receive a voucher automatically from their school - parents/carers do not need to apply. The school will email or text the nominated parent/carer for each eligible pupil attending their school. 

We have asked schools to try and issue vouchers to all eligible children by 27 May . If your child attends a school and you have not received your voucher by then please contact your school. 

Families with children that are eligible but do not attend a school can apply for a food voucher by completing the Food Voucher application form, to ensure that you can receive your voucher before the summer half term, please apply by 27 May 2021.

When do I need to make my application to the local authority? 

To ensure that you can receive a food voucher before the half term break, please apply before 27 May .  We will accept applications during the half term break if there are reasonable grounds for the late application.

I live in Sutton, my child is eligible for free school meals but attends a school outside of Sutton, will I receive a voucher?

Yes. Most Local Authorities (including our neighbouring boroughs) are providing food vouchers for pupils eligible for FSM that attend Schools in their borough, regardless of where a child lives. Please contact your school directly for more information, however if you have any concerns or questions  please contact us on education.sendfeedback@sutton.gov.uk.

I live in another Borough but my child attends a school in Sutton and is eligible for Free School Meals - can I apply?

You do not need to apply. Sutton schools will be automatically distributing vouchers to families on their school roll, who are registered for Free School Meals (FSM) regardless of where they live. Schools will be communicating with families directly on this.

My child is electively home educated, or in ‘Education Otherwise than at School’ (between placement or in tuition) - can I apply for a voucher?

Yes - please apply via the following application form.

My child is eligible for Free School Meals and attends a Nursery in a primary school in Sutton - will I receive a voucher?

Yes you will receive a voucher directly from your school in which the Nursery is based.

I would be eligible for free school meals but my child attends a non maintained or independent school - can I apply for a voucher?

Yes - please apply via the following application form.

I do not meet the criteria for food vouchers as stated above but I am in need of support over the christmas holidays, where can I go?

Information relating to the support available to all Sutton residents that may be struggling to provide enough food over christmas is available at www.sutton.gov.uk/covid-19 

What if I haven’t registered for free school meals with my child’s school/educational setting but want to now, in order to claim my voucher?

You can apply to register your child for free school meals via the Council’s website - see here for more information

What if I haven’t taken up my free childcare place for my 2 year old but I am eligible and I would like to claim a voucher?

If you have confirmed your eligibility via the Parent Portal and your child was eligible to take up a free childcare place this summer term - please apply via the following application form.

If you are not sure you are eligible for a free childcare place for your 2 year old, you can check your eligibility online via the Parent Portal

Further information about the entitlement is available on the following page www.sutton.gov.uk/2yearolds 

I am not sure if my early years/ childcare setting has registered my child for EYPP - what should I do?

Please contact your early years provider before submitting an application form.

Support for families not eligible for the food voucher will be published on the following page - www.sutton.gov.uk/covid-19. Additionally, you can contact Sutton Food Bank via  https://sutton.foodbank.org.uk/ 

How much is the voucher worth?

Vouchers will be worth £3 a day for each day of the duration of the school holiday closure. For the summer half term this will be 5 days (£15). Schools cannot issue vouchers to cover INSET days. This will ensure we can live within the grant available.

Where can I use the voucher?

The vouchers will be redeemable at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Aldi, Morrisons, and Iceland. Parents/carers will receive a link from their school or LBS (depending on who is issuing the voucher) and the contact details they hold. Parents/carers will be asked to decide which supermarket they want their voucher to be used in. 

What is the process for using my voucher? 

If your child is eligible for a voucher (see above), you will either automatically receive a voucher directly from your school or you will receive one from LBS having applied through our application form. 

  1. Where a school has issued a voucher directly (for the vast majority of pupils), Parent/carers will receive an email or text message (based on the contact details schools hold) with a link to ‘redeem your voucher’.  Parents/guardians will need to create an account with  Schoolvouchers (very easy to do by clicking on the link) and will then be asked to select the supermarket you want to spend the voucher at (choice of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Aldi, Morrisons, and Iceland). Once selected you will be given a pin or challenge code to be inputted into the ‘digital gift card section’ to confirm. Once the code is confirmed, your voucher will be ready to use.
  2. Where Sutton Council has issued a voucher, you will have chosen your supermarket via the application form. We will then send you a link with a pin or challenge code which once confirmed, your voucher will be ready to use. 

Your child(ren)’s school will be able to provide you with support and  information on how to claim the vouchers or you can visit https://help.schoolvouchers.com/hc/en-gb for FAQs including step by step guidance and videos. 

I have children in school that are eligible for Free School Meals and have children that do not attend school as they are too young, can I receive a voucher for them too?

If your child is taking up their free childcare entitlement for 2 year olds or is aged between 3 and 4 and is registered for Early Years Pupil Premium and attends Early Years setting in Sutton, you can apply for a Food Voucher -please apply via the following application form.

Families with children that do not meet the criteria above can find out about the additional support available for families over the period on the Sutton Council website or you can contact Sutton Food Bank via  https://sutton.foodbank.org.uk/ 

My child attends a Nursery in a Sutton School and I meet the Free School Meals criteria can I apply for a food voucher?

Yes. Schools can issue vouchers for all pupils on their roll including Nursery age children. Your school will be able to issue a voucher for all of your children that attend the school Nursery. 

My child is eligible for the free childcare entitlement for 2 year olds but attends an out of borough setting, can I get a voucher?

No. Sutton council is only making food vouchers available for families accessing Sutton early years settings, so is unable to issue vouchers to families where they access their entitlement outside of the borough. However, some other local authorities may be offering a similar scheme, please contact them directly. 

Information relating to all the support available to all Sutton residents is available at www.sutton.gov.uk/covid-19 

Can I apply for more than one voucher? If so, do I need to complete the application form more than once?

Each child that is eligible can only receive one voucher. If you are applying for a food voucher via Sutton council you will be able to apply for all eligible children at the same time.

How long will my voucher take to be issued?

We have asked schools to try and issue vouchers to all eligible children by 27 May. If your child attends a school and you have not received your voucher by then please contact your school. 

The latest date that schools will be able to issue a voucher is 10 June.

For all eligible children not receiving a voucher directly from school - we will try to issue the voucher as soon as possible after the application is received. Please allow 3-4 days from the date of making your application (times may vary depending on demand).

Can I claim vouchers for my child after the summer half term has ended?

To ensure that you can receive a food voucher before summer half term please ensure that you have either contacted your school by 27 May or applied to the local authority before 27 May. 

The final deadline for schools and the local authority to issue food vouchers for the summer half-term period is 10 June 

I have a question not covered by any in this FAQ. What should I do? 

Please email us and we will do our best to help you as quickly as possible.