Free School Meals
In the current economic climate some families may be unaware that they are eligible for a free school meal. It is a completely confidential process and once you have been assessed it usually lasts for a year unless your circumstances change. They have made the application process much simpler now and with some centrally held data you are now less likely to have to produce paper evidence.
Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.
Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:
- younger than the compulsory age for starting school
- in full-time education
If you are eligible for free school meals, and your circumstances change in any way (such as changing address or school, and registering another child) you will need to contact the school to advise the team of these changes.
Please don’t feel that there is any stigma attached to your child having a free school meal at this school. It is completely confidential and the children just answer the register in class asking for a school lunch. There is nothing that makes them stand out from the other children who have a hot lunch.
Children being registered for a free school meal also benefits the school because we will receive a pupil premium based on our number of FSM. Our small school with its very tight budget would benefit from any extra funding, so there is a selfish reason for drawing your attention to this matter too.
Universal Free School Meals - KS1
Year 1 and 2 automatically qualify to receive a free meal.
Are you aware though, that whilst this change in entitlement means you will no longer be required to apply for a meal, if you don’t apply but are in receipt of the benefits listed below, your school will miss out on additional funding of £1300 per child which support your child’s learning in the school environment.
Schools use of this additional funding could increase the support we are able to give to those children not making expected progress as well as purchase new resources for the school.
In order for your school to qualify for this additional funding they will ask you to provide them with your name, date of birth and National Insurance Number or asylum seeker reference. This will enable the LA to make an assessment to confirm if your school qualify to receive this funding. It is important to note that no other parents or pupils will know you have been assessed and it will not affect any other benefits you are claiming.
Do you qualify?
To check whether you qualify, please visit the ECC website at www.essex.gov.uk.