Cllr Scott Dickinson
Cllr Scott Dickinson

Northumberland County Council’s Labour Group has welcomed the reassurance from the council that free school meals will continue to be provided to children who are self-isolating or part of a school lockdown because of Covid-19.

Deputy leader of the Labour Group Scott Dickinson said: “This is certainly a bold and very welcome pledge, however the logistics are huge, especially for rural areas.

“In some of our rural schools around half of the students are brought in by bus. We need more details about how this is going to be done. Will it be voucher systems or will it be down to the goodwill and dedication of the amazing staff in our schools to sort this out themselves?

“It is fine to make bold announcements, but worrying that this has been done without spelling out how it will work. Parents and families are already worried and school staff are already under huge amounts of pressure.

“There are many children self-isolating in the county, many of whom will be entitled to free school meals. The scale of this is massive and the Labour Group will be pressing on behalf of families and school staff to find out exactly how the council thinks this can be done.

“I would always support this type of scheme, but resources and support are key. Teachers and support staff have done a remarkable job but the council needs to recognise that this promise, as positive as it is, must be backed by putting greater resources into schools to deal with it.”

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