The Department of Education has confirmed, in its lawyers’ response to a judicial review pre-action letter, that free school meal provision will be provisionally extended to families:
- Reliant on section 4 support, this is support provided to refused asylum seekers who have reached the end of their appeal avenues.
- Granted leave to remain as ‘Zambrano carers’, this means that the child is British national with a parent who is a non EEA national and the child requires the parent to remain in the UK in order to provide care.
- Granted leave to remain under Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights, this means that a person is granted leave to remain under art 8 which refers to the right to family life but they have the No Recourse to Public Funds restriction.
- Supported under section 17 Children Act 1989 and who have ‘no recourse to public funds’. Section 17 support is support provided by Local Authorities to families who are found to be destitute.
The mechanism for the delivery of this support is as of yet unclear, however families or carers who have these immigration conditions should apply to their local authorities for support.
The United Nations Committee on Economic and Social Rights states that “all children within a State, including those with an undocumented status, have a right to receive education and access to adequate food and affordable health care”.
Yet up until now children who had NRPF were unable to access free school meals past the universal infant free school meal entitlement period unless their school or local authority chose to provide additional support.
Just Fair is pleased to see this move, and hopes that further support will follow in order to ensure that all people regardless of their immigration status will be able to afford to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.