Coronavirus - schools support for disadvantaged students

30 March 2020

Sharing school support for pupils here including:

  • Marc Rowland - what next for Pupil Premium strategy? 
  • strategies for distance learning
  • what schools are doing to ensure they have food
  • NB: this page will be updated

Strategies for disadvantaged students and distance learning

Marc Rowland webinar and blog - Canaries in the Coalmine: What next for Pupil Premium strategy?

The Conversation: Supporting children through the coronavirus pandemic – lessons from the autistic community

Chair of our Excellence for Everyone advisory Board, Marc Rowland, shares some strategies to consider around distance learning for disadvantaged pupils.

Provision for FSM children - what schools are doing (March 2020)

Two secondary schools:

  • One organised supermarket vouchers for FSM students. The vouchers  have £22 on which is £2.20 per day for 10 days up to Easter break. Due to the lockdown they will organise electronic vouchers.

  • Another offered for students to come in and collect, no parents/students have taken up this offer. We are waiting for supermarkets to set up the vouchers for the 50 FSM children. Then all parents will receive the emails by voucher. 


  • We investigated using that offer the FSM service but found they are limited to a specific £2.30 per day cost which in reality is rather complicated for the parents to access . Sainsbury’s offer a great straight forward £20 FSM voucher scheme

Primary schools

  • One has applied for supermarket voucher schemes but they seem swamped. In the end we did a big shop and sent everyone off with food parcels on the last day of open school. We are now starting to do online shopping with families for a month’s worth of food. Some families are already starting to panic about money - we have lots of gig economy workers. 

  • Another provided supermarket vouchers on Friday for our FSM families and a fresh food parcel Monday with plenty to make lunches for the week.


  • Had staff up and down the whole of Buckinghamshire on Monday delivering food parcels to our young people and their families - cooked for us by the AMAZING chefs at @WaddesdonManor

One school has:

  • Contacted all FSM parents/carers and made them aware that a takeaway hot lunch will be available for them to collect each day from entrance gate. Offered to deliver the food to those families who cannot get to school. 

  • Getting consent from all families to share their email address/addresses with Tesco as has signed up to their voucher system. Once this is in place the vouchers will replace the need for families to collect the take away meals. Chasing any families who we do not hear back from, so that no family who is entitled to this provision is left behind.

  • Prior to school closure we gathered information from every DA pupil about resources available to them at home. From this we were able to put together a full list of any DA pupil who did not have access to a compute/wifi at home.  Departments were asked to put together packs of work for these pupils as they wouldn’t be able to access the online systems of work that were being set for all other pupils. In total we had 105 pupils in years 7-10 on the list and ended up with so much work produced for them that each pupil had two or three packs created! So in total we had around 250 packs organised and ready to be posted out on Monday. 

More, from partner schools via Twitter and email:

  •  Will be delivering ‘hampers’ to FSM families later this week and schedule of weekly, or for some, daily phone calls to target families underway. Will let you know once we’ve tried it - working with our catering firm to establish it - gets the food to the families rather than relying on them coming to pick up a packed lunch - aiming for greater take up.

  • We’re sending out Tesco vouchers so that our parents can make the most of the funds.

  • We gave away about 50 meals (including parents). We have 70% pupil premium. Charged £1.00 to others (but gave several away for free!)

  • Had between 2-10% of children generally on Monday - but far less than we anticipated (which is positive for self isolation). We opened up grab-and-go for FSM, for our vulnerable families we hand delivered lunches - especially to those who are isolated, they are entitled and need us!

    • The sooner a national solution is put in place the better. For our FSM families the easiest way of course would be to add an additional benefit, as all these families are in receipt of benefits already. The current situation where we are all doing our own thing is time consuming and unfair as different schools/LAs are allocating different amounts of money. Having to go to a supermarket and buy 200 cards is ridiculous, going to shops directly online is again time consuming all round and they cannot cope with this on top of the massive demand for food supplies and deliveries.