The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS) has been suspended since schools closed to all but key and essential workers' children and vulnerable children in March 2020. We are campaigning to get it reinstated by September 2020 now that schools are gradually reopening to pupils.
Contact Hannah Cameron McKenna (@hannahrcameron) and Sarah Pritchard (@SarahfPritchard) via Twitter with any questions.
Frequently asked questions
What is the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme?
The School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS) is a Government programme that launched in 2004 and is run by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC). It provides a free piece of fruit or veg to every 4-6 year-old who attends a fully state-funded primary, infant or special school. The SFVS distributes 450 million pieces of fruit a year to 2.3 million children.
You can read more about the SFVS here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/school-fruit-and-vegetable-scheme/
What’s happened to the SFVS?
The Scheme was suspended entirely in March 2020 when the schools closed to all but key and essential workers' children and vulnerable children.
Why does this matter?
For some children, the SFVS fruit and veg may be the first thing they eat that morning or the only piece of fruit and veg they eat all day. Cutting the SFVS impacts the most disadvantaged children the hardest, at a time when we know that children’s nutrition is suffering. A recent piece of research by Northumbria University shows a ‘massive decrease in fruit and vegetable intake’ after lockdown among children who would usually receive free school meals:
Hannah Cameron McKenna with son Marlow (Image: PAUL GILLIS / paulgillisphoto.com)
What has the Government said about the suspension?
Jo Churchill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care) said this on 24 June:
The Department for Education and schools themselves are ensuring that children who attend school continue to receive healthy and nutritious food at school, as well as making provision to support families usually in receipt of free school meals and whose children are not attending school.
But the Government says the SFVS has been ‘paused’ or ‘suspended’, so surely it’s coming back in September?
As of 24 June, there has been no assurance from the Department of Health and Social Care that the scheme will restart, at all.
Are you sure it is definitely true that the SFVS has been stopped? I can’t find much about it in the news.
There hasn't been huge amounts of press coverage about it so far, but it is slowly spreading through mainstream media. Coverage to date (3 July) includes: