Free School Meals
Nick Gibb (Minister of State (Schools), Education; Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Conservative)
The School Food Trust undertook a review in 2009 of free school meal initiatives across the UK. This showed that there are many reasons why some pupils or parents decide not to claim the free school meal to which they are entitled, including embarrassment. The review ‘Please Sir, can we have some more?' is available on the trust's website at
The School Food Trust has produced a ‘Free School Meals Matter Toolkit' which provides schools with information and advice to help them to ensure that all pupils entitled to free school meals register for, and take, the meal. The Department's online Eligibility Checking Service enables parents to apply for school meals without having to give the school information about their income from benefits or earnings. This helps to reduce the stigma for eligible pupils.
A number of schools and local authorities have put in place cashless payment systems which help ensure that those children who are receiving a free school meal can not be identified.