Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Improvement at RCPCH said:
In the last 24 hours, we've seen multiple examples of food parcels provided to families through the free school meals programme. As a paediatrician I can say the contents are not nutritionally sufficient for children and young people. Children who rely on free school meals have worse health outcomes than their peers and deserve proper help. The examples shared are an insult to the dignity of people who rely on this support.
We call on government to urgently review its supplier list, and to provide the resource needed for local authorities to provide flexibility for families in how they want to receive this vital support. Some local authorities offer vouchers or cash payments. Not every family is the same, but every family deserves to be treated with respect.
The College has also written to the Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson. We've asked for the Department for Education to:
- Urgently review the approved supplier list
- Provide the resource needed by schools and local authorities so they are equipped to provide flexibility for families in how they want to receive support
- Get the national voucher scheme up and running in the coming days