COVID-19; Changes to Free School Meals


Families with children eligible for Free School Meals will now be able to buy food using funds deposited directly into their bank account, whilst schools are closed due to COVID-19.  This will provide parents with more flexibility on where they can shop and the voucher scheme which is currently being delivered will continue to run alongside the new arrangement.

Cardiff Council has developed the new arrangement which will deliver BACS payments using Parent Pay, an online payment system already used by 91 of Cardiff’s schools.

The Council is assisting the remaining 34 schools in signing up to the system to ensure everyone can access the regular payment scheme.

Parents or carers with children who are eligible for Free School Meals will receive a letter during next week which will provide information on how to receive their fortnightly payment. For those who are not yet using ParentPay, there will be a step by step guide on how to register and contact details should they require further assistance.

Parents and carers are encouraged to register to receive payments as soon as they receive their letters so that they can receive their first BACS payments from Monday 27, April

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “Ensuring that children and young people do not go without food during school closures has been a priority and we hope that this new arrangement will mean families have more choice and flexibility on where they purchase their children’s food. It also means that those adults who are self-isolating can still provide meals with the option of shopping online.

“Since the announcement was made that schools would close for statutory education, our dedicated team have worked incredibly hard to deliver Free School Meal provision. This has included delivering 45,000 packed lunches in the first instance and developing a brand new voucher scheme with supermarkets.

“We recognise that one option will not suit everyone but we hope this new arrangement will help, and in addition support and guidance will still be provided to identify the best option for those families who need it.”