Free School Meals
If your child is eligible for a free school meal then there are a number of important reasons why you should make the claim to the school.
Providing a daily free meal – If you qualify for a free school meal then the school will provide a free meal up to the value of £1.90 every day. This really is an offer too good to miss! The Dining Rooms under the guidance of Mr Cowell provide nutritional and healthy food options with a variety of goods available each day.
Cashless Catering – The introduction of a system which allows food to be purchased simply by fingerprint recognition has provided a benefit in two different ways.
a) All pupils are registered on the system and can pay an amount of money into the cash machine at any time or you can use the ParentPay facility. When collecting their meals, they simply have their fingerprint swiped and their account is deducted by the amount of the meal. This has made the queuing system much more effective and reduces times in the queue. No cash changes hands at the kitchen tills.
b) It is suggested that one of the reasons that parents may not receive that which they are entitled to is the perceived stigma attached to obtaining a meal using a free ticket. Using our cashless catering system removes any indication that the meal is provided free as pupils are automatically credited with the cash in their account and they use exactly the same technique as everybody else. There simply is NO reason why free meals shouldn’t be claimed if you are eligible (see below).
Pupil Premium – The government have recently changed the way schools are funded and the capitation allowance is heavily influenced by the new Pupil Premium. This is an amount of money (a serious amount!) which is allocated to school based on the financial circumstances of the families which it serves. The indication of whether the pupil premium is to be awarded is based on the number of pupils on free school meals. Therefore, additional funding coming into the school to provide better facilities for teaching and learning is based on how many of our parents who are claiming the free school meal allowance that they are entitled to.
As you can perhaps see, the advantages of claiming free school meals are many and, as well as ensuring that pupils are getting a healthy meal every day, we are also able to provide better facilities, books, computers, classrooms and many other benefits for the pupils. It is to the advantage of every pupil in school that all parents who are eligible to claim for free school meals should do so – even if your child does not take the free meal!
DO YOU QUALIFY?
Parents do not have to pay for school lunches if they receive any of the following:Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
- Working Tax Credit ‘run on’ – the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Children who receive any of the qualifying benefits listed above in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals
If you think that you are eligible to apply for Free School Meals for your child, or if you are not sure, you may want to contact the Customer Service help desk at the Local Authority on 0191 5612612. A member of the team will be able to advise you. When calling, it will help if you have your National Insurance number to hand. In this way, you will be able to register for Free School Meals immediately should you be eligible to do so.
If you have any further questions please contact Mrs Liddell at the Academy on 0191 5537700.