Commenting on the Public Accounts Committee report into EdenRed free school meals voucher scheme, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

'The EdenRed voucher scheme shambles caused distress and anxiety for families. It meant extra, avoidable pressure for headteachers at the time when they were working late into the night. Schools across the country stepped up to provide food parcels and emergency support to the families but there is no defence for why the issues took so long to resolve.

'The conclusion by this Government committee that the DfE did not do enough to understand how schools would use the scheme highlights just one in a series of places where they haven't listened properly to the heads and staff who are doing the job.

'It is a damning verdict to conclude that the DfE did not exercise proper control over the contract to EdenRed financially or actively scrutinise how effectively they performed. It is important that proper lessons are learned. It is time that the practical insight and expertise from heads and teachers is given much greater weight in the decisions made by the DfE'.

2021-031-NEU

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