Support for pupils’ families

Families on low incomes with pupils at Falkirk schools will get financial help with the cost of meals during holidays and if they have to self-isolate due to Covid-19.

Stock photo by John Devlin 31/08/2020.

And families receiving free school meals, clothing grants or educational maintenance allowance will get a further £100 through the Scottish Government’s winter support fund.

Nationally, the payments will be made to anyone who qualifies for free school meals, but Falkirk Council has agreed to extend it to help more families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Cash has also been allocated so that any pupils who are entitled to free schools meals will get a direct payment if they are required to self-isolate by Public Health Scotland.

The proposal was agreed at a meeting of Falkirk’s education, children and young people executive last week.

The cost will be covered by £30 million of Scottish Government funding to councils, and will cover this Christmas, February and Easter breaks.

The report to the meeting said it was vital to keep helping families who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

People on low incomes are less likely to be able to work at home and more likely to work in industries that have been most affected by the restrictions – putting them at greater risk of reduced hours and redundancy. There is also evidence that Covid-19 rates are higher in areas of deprivation and that Covid death rates are twice as high for people living in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.