Universal Free School Meals
From September 2014, every child in Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception), Year 1 and Year 2, who attend a state funded school are offered a free school lunch. This is known as 'Universal Free School Meals'. The cost of the school meal is met by the government and children are welcome to stay and enjoy an award winning, nutritious hot meal with their friends.
This is offered as part of a Government initiative which aims to ensure that all children can benefit from a hot meal at lunchtime. Studies show that benefits include;
- A healthy diet
- Improved concentration in the afternoons
- Better behaviour and atmosphere in school as a result of all pupils eating together every day
- A saving to parents of up to £400 a year for each child
If your child has a medical need for a special diet, please see the school office, prior to your child starting school with the details of the diet along with a doctor’s letter. This is not necessary for vegetarian, vegan or halal meat options
There is no charge for meals, however our school has a booking system and school meals are booked a month in advance using the School Meals Booking Form. See 'How to Book School Meals'
Free School Meal Benefits & Pupil Premium
It is very easy to confuse 'free school meals' and 'universal free school meals'. If you think you would qualify for free school meals because of your income or circumstances, it is essential you still apply for this in the usual way before your child starts school or if your circumstances change.
This is because;
- Funding is granted to schools, based on the number of their pupils who are entitled to receive free school meals. For every child entitled to claim free school meals as a benefit, the school receives £1320. This money is used in a variety of ways to help support individual pupils and the whole community.
- The government need to know how many children are entitled to claim free school meals as a state benefit.
The school receives extra money for;
- Children eligible for free school meals currently or during the past 6 years
- Children with parents currently in the armed forces
- Children in care or adopted children
It is really important that if your child is ever eligible for free school meals, however briefly, you should claim. Children may be eligible if their parents/carers are receiving
- Income support
- Child Tax Credit
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Employment Support Allowance
Our Learning Mentor, Mrs deScossa, has further details on the benefits available for those pupils that qualify.
Free School Meals Application Process
From July 2017, North Somerset Council replaced the old free school meal paper application forms with a new online checker. Parents will be able to apply online, at home or in school, and get an instant result. The system will generate a letter that parents can print off and give to the school to show eligibility.
Parents will need to reapply every school holiday (so 6 times per year) and eligibility will last for the whole school term.
Schools will be sent an email at the beginning of each term detailing who has applied. Anyone who applies mid-term will be able to show schools their eligibility letter. Eligibility starts from the date on the letter, and stops at the end of that term.
The new checker can be found here: www.n-somerset.gov.uk/fsm
We would encourage anyone who thinks they may be entitled to Free School Meals, on the basis of their income eligibility, to apply regardless of whether their child receives free school meals through universal free school meals. The online system takes a few minutes to do and we can help in school if you need any assistance.