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Student loans and school food standards

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Higher Education, School food, Universities

students with a laptop and some papers, in discussion about their work

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at reports of students overpaying their student loans. The blog also looks at the Department for Education’s response to a story about food standards in the event of exiting the EU without a deal.

Student loan overpayments

Today, Tuesday 20 August, Research Professional News published freedom of information data showing that students have overpaid £28 million in student loans payments.

The story has been covered in The Times (p2), Daily Mail (p6) and BBC online, as well as featuring in the bulletins of BBC Breakfast London and the Today Programme.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

No one should have to overpay on their student loan and we have taken steps to improve the system to avoid this happening in the future.

This included changing the law in April to allow weekly data sharing between HMRC and the Student Loans Company, which will help to prevent graduates repaying too much.

If a borrower believes there has been an over repayment, they should contact the SLC to seek a refund. We continually work to improve the repayment system, enabling those taking out a student loan to have better online access and more up-to-date information about their repayments.

Food standards in schools

Yesterday, Monday 19 August and today, the BBC and the Daily Mail, respectively, have reported about local authorities’ preparations for a no deal EU exit and the impact on food supplies.

Any suggestion that schools will no longer have to adhere to nutrition standards is misleading.  It remains the case that schools must comply with the School Food Standards, which require food to be nutritious and of a high standard. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools. We also expect all academies and free schools to comply with the standards, and since 2014 we have made this an explicit requirement in their funding agreements.

We have published guidance to help schools and local authorities prepare to continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals in the event of a no deal exit, as required by the School Food Standards which will apply regardless.

We are advising schools to contact their food supplier(s) if they procure food directly from them (or their local authority or academy trust, if they arrange food on the school's behalf) to ensure they are planning for potential impacts of a no deal scenario.

You can read more about the Government’s published advice for the food and drink sector on preparations they may need to make for the UK leaving the EU without a deal here.

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