Extend free school meals to migrant families

More than 60 organisations have written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to say that free school meals should be permanently extended to the children of migrants who are currently ineligible for public support.

During the coronavirus outbreak the meal scheme has temporarily included some pupils whose families have ‘no recourse to public funds’. NRPF status is given to some migrants as a condition of their right to remain in the UK and prevents them from receiving most government-funded benefits.

The government has already made a U-turn on providing free school meals outside of term-time, and now the charities and trade unions say that the government should permanently extend the scheme for children from low-income migrant families.

Sam Royston, director of policy and research for the Children's Society, one of the letter’s signatories, said that figures highlighting that more than 175,000 children in the UK are from NRPF families showed the number of children affected was rising, adding that ‘whether a child is able to eat should not depend on their parents' immigration status’.