Free school meals: Reminder to check if you are eligible

Northumberland County Council is reminding families who receive state benefits that they may be entitled to claim free school meals.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 5:00 am
Robert Arckless

All children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 qualify for free school meals regardless of their family income, but children in Years 3 and above do not automatically qualify.

Introduced in 2011, the pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities and to close the gaps between them and their peers.

Families may be eligible for free school meals – and accordingly the pupil premium – if they receive any of the following benefits: 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 guaranteed element of Pension Credit; Child Tax Credit (provided they are 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; Universal Credit.

Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services at the county council, said: “I strongly believe that every child should reach their full potential, whatever their background.”

For more information, call the Free School Meals Team on 01670 623 592 or visit Arckless added: “Parents or carers may not be aware they are entitled to this funding. The pupil premium can be used by schools to address the barriers which prevent disadvantaged children achieving as well as their peers.

“I would encourage all families to check if they are eligible for free school meals. Eating a nutritious meal at lunchtime not only has health benefits, but the scheme helps support low-income families.”