Early Years

School Meals

Free School Meals

It is well researched that children who have a healthy and balanced diet often then have better concentration levels, which then allows them to make the best use of their education and so improves outcomes in later life. 

The Government introduced a policy in September 2014 where all schools must provide a lunchtime meal for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (KS1). Until then only families on certain qualifying welfare benefits could get free meals. This was known as the ‘deprivation’ criteria.

However, it is really important that parents that previously met the ‘deprivation’ criteria, or would do so if they are new applicants, continue to register with their school for free meals for their children. This is because:

  • They still qualify for free meals for children older than those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

  • The school can claim extra funding (Pupil Premium) from the Government for every child that is registered with the school for free meals under the ‘deprivation’ criteria. There is already evidence around the country that schools are losing out on this extra funding since the introduction of universal free meals for all KS1 children because parents do not need to register any more for the free meal for their younger children. The amount per junior school child the school can claim is around £1,000.

A leaflet is available that gives the key messages about this to parents and in all cases, parents should, as it says on the leaflet, be directed to their school for further information.    

I would be grateful if you could make the leaflet available to parents in your setting to help encourage as many eligible parents as possible to register with their school for free meals for all of their children.

Find out more information and apply for free school meals

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