Pupil Premium and Free School Meals
There is a difference between three levels of funding provided for schools.
Universal Infant Free School Meals were introduced by the government in 2014 to give all children, regardless of their economic background, a meal at school at lunchtime. It was a great idea to give all children a hot meal at school helping many families by saving them dinner money or money buying food to make packed lunches. It was for everyone – no application needed! This does not automatically mean that you are entitled to free school meals.
Free School Meals have been around for much longer than this. They were introduced many years ago to help low income families. Parents had to apply for this benefit. There is an eligibility criteria for this. It is means tested.
More recently, the government linked this means tested benefit, to providing additional money to support children in school. This is called Pupil Premium. The school get additional pupil premium money into their budget based on the numbers of pupils eligible to free school meals. This is to improve the education and support for children at the school.
This has led to some understandable confusion. Only parents who have applied and meet the means tested criteria are eligible for free school meals. In the current Covid-19 crisis only these parents will get the weekly £15 food voucher from the government.
Update April 2020
Please note that we have now set up the government's online free school meals (FSM) voucher scheme. This is being managed by Edenred. More information here. All eligible families will receive a £15.00 grocery voucher per week for each child registered for free school meals. Your applications are being processed through e-mail. Please check your e-mails including your SPAM folder. If there is an error, please e-mail the school office using this link and we will check this for you.
If you think you are eligible for Free School meals read the attached document. In the current Covid-19 crisis, we are aware that many parents have questions regarding whether they are eligible for free school meals.
If you are having problems using the Edenred Code, please visit their website. Unfortuately, school staff cannot help with this. Edenred website - https://www.edenred.co.uk/contact-us/. At the start of May, if a parent/carer has more than one child eligible they will receive one code for both for the whole month, it won't be weekly or individually. This is to help the website with processing vouchers quicker and easier.
Although the eligibility criteria for free school meals may change as of April 8th 2020, the guidance from government was that 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 your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2022.
If you think you may now be entitled to means tested free school meals for your children, you need to apply using this link:
Please contact your child’s school if you need any assistance with this. To apply you need:
- Your own name and date of birth
- Contact details. Includes e-mail. phone numbers and address details. It is helpful to have an e-mail and correct postcode.
- National Insurance Number or National Asylum Seekers Number
- Child's name and date of birth
- School your child is attending/will attend.
To apply click on:
Pupil Premium Reporting
The Pupil Premium is funding provided to schools which is additional to main school funding.
It is allocated to pupils on roll who are eligible for free school meals (FSM), children of service families, and pupils who have been ‘Looked After’ (in care) for 6 months or more. In 2012, funding was extended to include pupils who have been eligible for free school meals within the past 6 years.
It is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium is spent, since they are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for the individual pupils within their responsibility.
Schools will be held accountable for their use of the additional funding to support pupils from low-income families and the impact this has on educational attainment. School performance tables now include a ‘Narrowing the Gap’ measure showing how disadvantaged children perform in each school. Our governing body produces an annual report here.