Get Free School Meal (FSM) vouchers

Get Free School Meal (FSM) vouchers

What the Free School Meal (FSM) vouchers are, who can get them and how, where you can spend them, what you can spend them on.

The Free School Meal (FSM) vouchers scheme provides supermarket vouchers to families whose children are eligible for free school meals.

It started on 31 March 2020, and is intended to cover the weeks commencing:

  • Monday 30 March
  • Monday 20 April
  • Monday 27 April

The government has also agreed to fund FSM over the Easter holidays, which run from 6 to 19 April.

Which schools are giving FSM vouchers

Schools that organise their catering through us will move to the new voucher system. Eligible schools are sending out letters to parents during week starting 30 March 2020.

Schools that join the FMS voucher system this week will get vouchers by the end of this week.

Not every school will provide vouchers. Some schools are making their own arrangements.

If you’re eligible for free school meals, check with your school about how they’ll provide you with this.

How to get FSM vouchers

The school will send you an email with a cheque number and a validation code.

You’ll need to:

An eVoucher will be sent instantly to your email address. You’ll get eVouchers totalling £45 (£15 per week).

You can spend this instore, presenting it either on a mobile phone or as a printed copy.

You don’t have an email address or smartphone

If you don’t have an email address or smartphone, you can ask the school to redeem vouchers on your behalf.

Schools can print off the eVouchers and distribute them:

  • by hand
  • by tracked post

Where you can use the eVouchers

You can currently get vouchers for:

  • Asda
  • Morrisons
  • M&S
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Tesco
  • Waitrose

We realise it might be difficult for some families to get to one of these supermarkets. The government are looking into whether more supermarkets can be added to the list.

What you can use the vouchers on

You can only use the vouchers on groceries. You must spend the full voucher value at once.

You can’t:

  • use the vouchers on fuel or other household expenses
  • use the vouchers on tobacco or lottery tickets
  • exchange the vouchers for cash

Other exclusions may be in place at the store you shop at.

You’re self-isolating and can’t get to the supermarket

Some of the supermarkets that accept the eVouchers will let you use them online.

You can also give the voucher to a friend, neighbour or relative, who can use it to buy food on your behalf. 

Free school meals for children still in school

Schools that are open will continue to provide meals for pupils still going to school, including:

  • children who are vulnerable
  • children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) response

Infant free school meals

At the moment, schools are concentrating their effort and resources on those eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

There’s no requirement to continue to give universal infant free school meals to pupils in reception, year 1, or year 2 who can’t go to school.

Children in those year groups, who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals, will be supported.

Apply for FSM

If you weren’t eligible for FSM before the schools closed but you think you might be now, contact the school. They’ll check if you’re eligible, and give you free school meals if you are.

You can check the eligibility criteria for free school meals.