Pupil Premium and Free School Meals
There is a difference between the 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.
Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
- 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 guarantee 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 four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
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.
- Since 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants have continued to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This applies even if their earnings rise above the threshold during that time.
- In addition, any pupil gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals until March 2025.
- After March 2025, any existing claimants, that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary). A pupil is only eligible to receive a free school meal when a claim for the meal has been made on their behalf and their eligibility, or protected status, has been verified by the school where they are enrolled or by the local authority.
If you think you may now be entitled to means tested free school meals for your children, you need to apply using this link or contact school and we can apply on your behalf:
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.