PARENTS across the UK are set to get supermarket vouchers in place of school meals as the government orders all schools to close to the majority of students at the end of the week.

The government have said parents whose children are entitled to free school dinners would be either be given vouchers or provided meals during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as Durham Police were today forced to issue a warning against fraudsters attempting to trick parents into handing over their bank information in receipt of support for 'free meals.'

This afternoon, the education secretary Gavin Williamson said no child who would usually be eligible for the free meals should 'go without' while schools are shut.

The main details have since been released by the Department for Education explaining how parents will be able to access the meals and who will pay the bill.

What you need to know

The government has said schools will be able to order vouchers directly from supermarkets and shops, which will then be either emailed, printed or posted to families.

The Department for Education has said it will cover all costs while the COVID-19 pandemic causes disruption to everyday life in the UK.

The government said the value of the vouchers offered to each child per week will be higher than the rate usually paid to schools to provide free school meals.

It is believed that schools will still retain control over how this is implemented, the government said that schools would be able to provide meals instead of vouchers if necessary.

Mr Williamson said: "Our school leaders and teachers are central to the country's response to these unprecedented challenges and I want to thank them for their calm resilience in the face of adversity.

"I am reassured by the support they continue to offer all families, particularly the most disadvantaged.

"No child who would ordinarily receive a free school meal should go without this while their school is closed or while they are having to self-isolate at home.

"By giving head teachers flexibility on how they can get meals or shop vouchers to these children, they can make the most appropriate decisions for families in their communities, and provide immediate reassurance that this important support will continue."