CHILDREN eligible for free school meals will not go hungry during this Covid lockdown, a move praised by Teesside MPs.

Teesside MPs are championing the different ways parents can help their children keep up with their learning - including the provision of free school meals. 

Free school meals will continue through the third, national lockdown, to ensure no child goes hungry.

Funded by the Department for Education, schools will be allocated additional funding to provide food parcels or meals to some children. 

Where they cannot offer food or use local solutions, a national voucher scheme will be put in place.

Headteachers, charities, and church groups condemned the Government in October after it blocked footballer Marcus Rashford’s bid to provide food for youngsters over Autumn half-term holidays and the Christmas break.

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, say they have consistently pressed how important it is for school children to continue their studies throughout the Covid-19 crisis. 

On Wednesday, January 7, both welcomed measures to help support children in their effective learning at home while schools are shut.

Mr Clarke said: "The current circumstances leave us with no choice but to close schools for the majority of children. 

"But every day in education matters - which is why I am so concerned schools have had to close, especially primaries. 

"So today I welcome everything that is being done to improve home learning.

"From the 750,000 laptops being distributed by Government, free data being made available by mobile networks, the biggest ever series of education programmes from the BBC and the provision of free school meals, I would urge every parent and guardian to take advantage of everything available."

Mr Young said: "The last thing we ever want to do is to close schools. But there is no question that it was the right decision given the seriousness of the current situation.

"And while clearly there is no substitute for being able to attend class, it is heartening to see everything that is being done to help support our children in their learning during these difficult times."

The Education Secretary confirmed yesterday that an extra 750,000 laptops will be distributed by the end of next week to ensure children can access remote learning.

Parents cannot apply for these directly but you should contact your school for help accessing remote education.

If you don’t have broadband at home, your local school can use this scheme to increase your mobile data allowance so that children can access remote learning on Three, Smarty, Virgin Mobile, EE, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile.

The BBC is also bringing its biggest ever education offer from Monday, January 11. CBBC will have a three-hour block of primary school programming from 9am while BBC Two will cater for secondary students with at least two hours of content each weekday.