On 21st July Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps they are taking to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on social mobility”. The Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, asked a follow up question focusing on free meals for college students.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, the Association of Colleges’ summer survey, published yesterday, indicates that three out of four colleges require additional resources to provide free college meal vouchers to eligible students over the summer. In my diocese, 52% of students at City College Southampton receive free college meals. We welcome the £96 million of ring-fenced funding announced yesterday for all 16 to 19 providers to supply additional catch-up tutoring. Will the Minister say how the Government will support colleges to ensure that all eligible students receive free college meals over the summer?
Baroness Berridge: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate has stolen my thunder. We have indeed announced a £96 million package to support the FE sector, and we recognise that more than 200,000 16 year-olds are educated in that sector. The Social Mobility Commission commended the discretionary bursary funding that is available for disadvantaged students attending FE colleges, which should go some way to helping those students.