Wickersley Partnership Trust replace food parcels with free school meal vouchers

Wickersley Partnership Trust replace food parcels with free school meal vouchers

Rotherham and Lincolnshire-based Wickersley Partnership Trust has made the decision to move to free school meal vouchers from Monday 18th January, to replace the food parcel scheme currently in place.

As of Monday, every child who is eligible for free school meals – no matter if they are currently attending school or working from home – will be entitled to a weekly £15 food voucher to be spent at any supermarket of choice.

The food voucher will be given to eligible families to cover five meals per week, per child. This is to ensure that all of the Trust’s children will have access to nutritional and substantial meals during the school week.

This comes after Wickersley Partnership Trust decided that the food parcels – limited by budgets set by the government – were not of equivalent value of a student’s free school meal entitlement, nor did the quality of the product meet the high expectations of the schools or the Trust.

Wickersley Partnership Trust followed the government and Department of Education’s advice and guidance from Friday 8th January to work with the catering team to provide food parcels to those pupils who are working from home.

Helen O’Brien, CEO of Wickersley Partnership Trust said: “We will always ensure that children are at the heart of each decision we make, and whilst I recognise the hard work of our catering teams, the food parcels did not meet the expectation of our Trust. It is for this reason that Wickersley Partnership Trust intends to direct Rotherham Council to reinstate the voucher scheme that was so successful during the first closure.”

Wickersley Partnership Trust transforms sports hall into new Covid-19 testing centre

Wickersley Partnership Trust transforms sports hall into new Covid-19 testing centre

Following the recent closure of schools, we have been working hard behind the scenes to temporarily transform our Cranworth Road and The Gainsborough Academy sports halls into Covid-19 test centres. Starting this week – across both sites – around 1100 members of staff, and 500 vulnerable children/children of key workers will be tested weekly, in an effort to reduce the spread of infection amongst those still attending and working in our schools.

It took one day for Lawson Property Services to set up the test centre, building all of the booths and partitions to enable us to start rolling out the 17,550 tests we have available. This means we now have four testing stations at the Cranworth Road centre, and two further stations at The Gainsborough Academy – with capacity to expand both centres if and when we need.

Melissa Jenkinson, teacher at Rawmarsh Ashwood Primary School commented: “It is a speedy process and I’m happy to have it done weekly with it being a very quick result. It means that I know I am then safe to go into school.” 

Staff and pupils have been allocated a weekly day and time for their tests, and will be transported to and from the centres by buses. 

Any positive results will be communicated to the staff or parent of the pupil within half an hour of the test. Those who test positive will be told to isolate in line with guidance from the official Test and Trace app.

Helen O’Brien, CEO of Wickersley Partnership Trust added: “At Wickersley Partnership Trust, we have a whole trust approach to mental health and well-being so pupils and teachers can thrive. We are committed to making sure staff and pupils are kept safe and protected from harm. Although it has been a massive undertaking to build a testing centre from the ground up, I am immensely proud to be in a position to use our resources to support our community and ensure staff and pupils are safe during this unprecedented time.”