Free School Meals

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of eligible pupils that did not register for free school meals in each of the financial years since the pupil premium was introduced.

Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of automatic enrolment for free school meals to ensure that all pupils receive their pupil premium allocation.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We want to make sure as many eligible pupils as possible are claiming their free school meals, and to make it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities to determine eligibility. To support this:

  • we provide an Eligibility Checking System (ECS) to make the checking process as quick and straightforward as possible for schools and local authorities;
  • we have developed a model registration form to help schools encourage parents to sign up for free school meals; and
  • we provide guidance to Jobcentre Plus advisers so that they can make Universal Credit recipients aware that they may also be entitled to wider benefits, including free school meals.

The latest estimates of the number of pupils who are entitled to receive free school meals but are not claiming them are available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266339/DFE-RR319.pdf.

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