On 17 March, the government updated guidance on the holiday activities and food programme 2021. The programme provides healthy food and enrichment activities to disadvantaged children and will cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.
Whilst the free holiday club places are targeted at children who are eligible for and receiving benefits-related free school meals, the government are also allowing local authorities to apply to use up to 15% of the funding to provide places for children who are considered by the local authority as vulnerable or in need of this provision. This includes children with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and children assessed as being in need. Children with EHC plans may therefore be eligible for a free place for the equivalent of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 6 weeks a year.
Aims of the programme are for children who attend this provision to:
- Eat more healthily over the school holidays
- Be more active during the school holidays
- Take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
- Be safe and not to be socially isolated
- Have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
- Be more engaged with school and other local services
The government also want to ensure that the families who participate in this programme:
- Develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting
- Are signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment and education
Dame Christine Lenehan, Director of the Council for Disabled Children, said:
“This is a welcome addition to the range of activities and support that need to be provided for families of children with SEN and Disabilities. We will be keen to see how activities promote the full engagement of children and encourage families to attend.”
Full guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/holiday-activities-and-food-programme/holiday-activities-and-food-programme-2021