Free School Meals
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Back in September 2014 the Government introduced free school meals for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes across England in response to the recommendations made in the School Food Plan.
Free school meals are also available to pupils (including those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) whose parents receive certain benefits as long as their parents have registered them. It's important that all parents who are in receipt of these benefits to register even when their child is in Otters (Reception) or Hedgehogs (Year 1 and Year 2), as this will allow the school to claim pupil premium which is then used to directly benefit their child in school.
Free School Meals - Did you know that if your child is registered as eligible for free school meals, the school receives a pupil premium payment of £1,345 per year? The school receives this payment whether or not your child has the school dinner. This premium is used by the school to organise additional opportunities, which directly benefit your child. No one will know you have registered and it will not affect any other benefits you are claiming.
How does it work?
If your child is under 19 and in full-time education, you may be able to get free school meals for them if you get one of these benefits:
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Support (IS)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
- Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 if you’re an asylum seeker
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Children who receive Income Support (IS) or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance in their own right can also get free school meals.
Apply for Income Related Free School Meals - If you receive one of the qualifying benefits listed above we suggest you do make a claim even if your child is in key stage 1 as the school will receive the additional funding. Mrs Marsden will guide you through the process - It is really simple and shouldn't take you too long to complete.
How to Apply for Free School Meals - Information from Cheshire East
We use the Government eligibility checker to confirm your entitlement. Successful claims can begin the same day. If your claim is not successful or you need to send more proof we will contact you by phone or email, your entitlement will only begin once this information is provided.
We cannot backdate claims for Free School Meals to cover unpaid dinner money, or to refund any dinner money paid prior to the date of a successful application.
Appealing against the free school meals eligibility criteria - The qualifying criteria for free school meals is set by Central Government, not Cheshire East Council. Any change to the criteria must be raised via your Member of Parliament.
Change of Circumstances - You must remember to tell us if you have any changes to your income or household. For example, you must tell us if your benefits stops, you start to get Working Tax Credit, your child changes school, your child leaves school or you change your address.
If you do not tell us of any changes in your circumstances, you will have to pay for any taken school meals that your child was not entitled to.
Phone 0300 123 5012 for further information and help.