Dear Parent/Carer,

I recently wrote regarding our intention to deliver food parcels to our students who are entitled to Free School Meals in line with government advice and guidance.

That advice, published on Friday 8th January stated that they “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.”

Whilst we are guided, and at times instructed, by the government and the Department for Education we will always ensure that children are at the heart of each decision we make.

Lincolnshire County Council and our catering company were responsible for ensuring schools had resources to fulfil their obligation to deliver food parcels to each and every one of our students entitled to Free School Meals.

Sadly, although I recognise the hard work of our catering teams they are limited by budgets set by government. As a result, I am still of the opinion that:

• food parcels were not of equivalent value to that of a student’s free school meal entitlement
• the quality of the product did not meet the high expectations of the school or Wickersley Partnership trust

At The Gainsborough Academy and throughout Wickersley Partnership Trust we never do any less for anyone else’s child then we would expect to be done for their own. I cannot be assured that food parcels delivered to our students entitled to Free School Meals meet this expectation. It is for this reason that we intend to reinstate the voucher scheme that was so successful during the first school closure.

An entitlement is a right and one that schools have a duty to ensure. Please rest assured that each and every student who is entitled to Free School Meals will receive provision, one way or another.

We aim for vouchers to recommence from Monday but will be honouring the food hampers due to be delivered this week and have added some additional resources which hopefully will support your home learning programmes.

Kind regards

Anna Leng