FAMILIES who are entitled to free school meals are being urged to complete registration forms so that schools continue to receive additional valuable funding.
From the start of this new school term, free school meals will be available to every child in reception, year 1 and year 2. Children in all years whose parents are in receipt of relevant benefits will continue to be entitled to free school meals as before through the completion and return of a free school meal application form.
These forms, including those for infant-aged children, provide schools with additional Pupil Premium funding – worth £1,300 a year per pupil. Pupil Premiums are important to schools, as they are used to improve learning opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged children.
The funding is spent on a range of enhancements that can include additional teaching staff, extra curriculum opportunities such as out-of-hours clubs or to pay for equipment. Free school meals save parents money as well as offering children a healthy, balanced diet. Educational attainment also rises when children are healthier and are able to concentrate on school work without the distraction of being hungry.
Children whose parents receive any of the following support payments may be entitled to receive free school meals:
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance
• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
• Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
• The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
• Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)
More information can be found on www.reading.gov.uk/schoolmeals, by calling the School Meals Support Service on 0118 937 4285 or contacting one of your Church Ward Councillors.