National voucher scheme
If your school catering service cannot provide meals or food parcels, you should offer families of pupils eligible for benefits-related free school meals an alternative.
We have developed a national scheme to provide supermarket vouchers via the Edenred online portal. Schools will not have to pay for these vouchers as the costs for this scheme will be picked up centrally by DfE.
Before ordering vouchers, you should check which pupils are eligible and currently in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. Vouchers should be made available to the adult with caring responsibility for that child.
How to order vouchers
You will be able to access the voucher scheme using the Edenred portal. Edenred will send schools an activation email, explaining how to access the portal and order vouchers. The email will be sent on Tuesday 31 March to the email address DfE holds for your school.
Once you have activated your account on the Edenred portal, you can begin to create vouchers. Edenred will provide schools with a step-by-step guide to ordering vouchers through their online portal.
Firstly, you will need to confirm the value of the voucher(s). You will be able to:
- order a single voucher to the value of £15 each week for every child eligible for benefits-related free school meals who is not attending school
- set a weekly £15 rolling voucher
- combine funding where a family has more than one child eligible for benefits-related free school meals
- send an ‘eCode’ directly to the parent or carers of the pupils(s) eligible for free school meals - they will need to choose an eGift card from a range of supermarkets
- select an eGift card on the parent or carer’s behalf, and print and post the eGift card to them
Sending eCodes to families
You can send a redemption eCode from the Edenred system directly to the parent or carers of the pupil(s) eligible for free school meals. They will receive instructions on how to use this eCode to create an eGift card, which the family should receive within 3 hours. You should only consider this approach if the family receiving the support has a working email account which they can access.