Free School Meals - government voucher system
In April, the government announced its national voucher scheme for Free School Meals. Each eligible child receives £15 in supermarket vouchers per week.This is being operated by a company called Edenred. We have spent time setting the system up in school and since 11th April, all parents / carers eligible for Free School Meals are being emailed eCodes for them to redeem and then use in supermarkets.
The system works via emails. We have used the same email address that we have on file for parents/carers unless advised otherwise. From now on, every Monday (from 11th April) those eligible will receive an email from Edenred with instructions about what to do. Essentially you will receive a 16-digit eCode (see image below) which will allow you to then be emailed an eGift voucher (see below) from a choice of supermarkets. (It is worth checking junk, clutter and spam email boxes too! - some parents have had to change their email settings to allow emails from www.edenred.co.uk).
If you are having difficulty redeeming your eCode or receiving your eGift barcode, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Or call: 0333 400 5932 (this number is charged at the national rate from all phone devices and phone calls from parents are discouraged).
If you feel that due to your current circumstances you may now be eligible for free school meals, please follow the link below for further information and how to apply.
Frequently asked questions
The government provided some initial FAQs (see PDF below) but here are some other issues which have come up more recently:
- I don't know what to do: Locate your eCode emails from a company called Edenred. They are being sent to the email address we have on file for you in school. Unless you are newly registered on FSM, you will have been emailed a £15 eCode per child each week since April 11th. You need to locate each email and copy your 16 digit eCodes one by one as per instructions below. Then Edenred will email you an eGift barcode which you or your friend/family member can take to the supermarket. We suggest you screenshot your barcode when you receive it. eGift barcodes should be emailed to your nominated email address within 24 hours. More detailed step by step instructions are as follows:
- Copy the eCode from your email / Go to www.freeschoolmeals.co.uk
- Enter the 16 digit eCode (you can enter more than one code if you have more than one code to redeem - where there are siblings for example
- Select a supermarket (Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose (John Lewis), M and S Food
- Enter the amount and add to basket
- Check out and enter the email address to which you would like the eGift card sent
- Your eGift card will be processed and sent
- I cannot find the emails from Edenred: The email will have come from email@example.com and is titled “Redeem you school meal voucher”.
- Check your Inbox, clutter, junk, spam emails etc.
- Some parents have said logging in on a different device has helped them.
- Make sure that www.edenred.co.uk are in your email boxes list of safe senders. Google to find out how to ensure your email account is not filtering your Edenred emails. For instance with Hotmail they advise: If the sender’s address is not in the Blocked Senders lists, you can add them to the Safe Senders lists by following the steps below: Click Settings (Gear icon). Choose Options. On the left side of the screen, under Junk email, select Safe Senders. Enter the sender’s address in the text box and then select Add (Plus icon). Click Save.
- I have entered the 16-digit eCode but have an error message: You may have entered the incorrect eCode. If an original code was re-sent, you may not be entering the most recent code for that week. Please check and try to enter your eCode again. If your code is still not accepted, please delete the browsing history on your device - your device may be storing the incorrect code in its memory.
- I'm having problems on the Edenred website: Some parents experienced some slow running of the website on 27th/28th April. Many people were experiencing ‘Invalid eCode’ error messages. Edenred have now fixed this problem. Anyone who tried to redeem an eCode on 27th and 28th April and received error messages can now try again.
- I can't get into the website: At very busy times the Edenred website has a queuing system. Please note it can take up to an hour to enter the website, but this can vary during peak and off-peak hours. For a shorter queuing time, we recommend trying outside of peak hours or days, which is between 10am and 5pm, and on Mondays.
- Can I get a voucher re-sent?: Staff are currently not able to resend any vouchers - parents need to search for any vouchers from EdenRed in all possible inboxes, junk, spam and clutter etc.
- I do not have internet access at the moment: In very rare cases, some parents have had to ask a friend/family member who they totally trust to log into their email account for them and help them to find the Edenred emails. They can then follow the process described above on their behalf. Friends and family members are able to buy the food for the eligible child if given permission. We suggest the passwords are changed as soon as possible afterwards.