The stark contrast between free school meals in England and Wales 3 months ago

The stark contrast between free school meals in England and Wales

The Department of Education are said to be investigating

Free school meals are the remit of the Department of Education for England, but this is a devolved matter in Wales.


Images circulating on social media depict a stark difference in free school meals between the two nations.

Under the free school meals scheme, which was extended by the government last year after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, families in England are entitled to vouchers worth £30 to purchase food.

At least, this was the intention.

However, food packages have replaced the £30 vouchers previously given to families. Many believe the value of the food included in these packages (and subsequently given to children at state schools) does not amount to £30.

Twitter user @RoadsideMum shared images of the free school meal package she received - with which she is expected to feed her family for 10 days. She estimated the total cost to amount to £5.22.


Images of similarly-sized packages were distributed by Rashford's social media channels.

The company responsible, Chartwells UK, have launched an investigation, as have the Department of Education. The company said the hampers depicted on social media do not reflect their actual specifications.


In an interview with the BBC, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the food parcel was "just not acceptable".


These paltry food offerings are a stark contrast to free school meals provided by the Welsh Government.


Despite facing intense scrutiny since the onset of Covid-19, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, has pledged to extend free school meal provisions to 2022.

Earlier today, Health Secretary Matt Hancock appeared on Good Morning Britain, where he was challenged by host Piers Morgan as to why he personally voted against extending free school meals.

When first asked to explain the Chartwells UK fiasco, Hancock said: "I am glad that they have apologised, they have clearly got to up their game.

"I want to see good high-quality food, I am really glad that we are able to send out food for those who receive free school meals when schools are in and I am really glad that we are able to do that when schools are out."

Morgan then asked Hancock: "If you are that glad, can I just ask you a difficult question: why did you vote against it?"

"Well I am really glad we were able to put it into place," Hancock replied.