I am writing to you for two important reasons. One is to invite you to come and meet us in the Junior school on Wednesday 10th July 2019 where we will have a chance to let you know all the information that you need in advance of your child coming in to Year 3 in September. We will have meetings at 2:00pm and 6:00pm in the lower hall which can be accessed via our school reception area. Your child will have already met their new teacher and spent time in the Juniors by this point as part of our transition process.
The second reason is to ask you to seriously consider whether your child is entitled to a free school meal (FSM). All infant children are entitled to free meals under the government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals system but that will change for your child as they enter Year 3. The advantages of being entitled to a FSM are threefold. The first is obviously the free meal itself; the second is the financial benefits for you and your child in terms of free academic tuition and potential reductions in the costs of trips and the final benefit is that where a pupil is entitled to a FSM, the school receives £1,320 per child per annum which is to be spent on enhancing your child’s education.
We have spent this money in a variety of ways in the past including on extra teachers, one to one tuition, music lessons, sports sessions to increase resilience and teamwork skills and subsidising the cost of trips and activities to really help children in our school achieve the best that they possibly can.
There is no stigma attached to this process, no one need know as a child simply requests a school meal at registration time. Paid or otherwise, there is no distinction.
The eligibility criteria for free school meals have changed recently. Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below.
- 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 you’re 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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, please submit a claim to the local authority. Forms are held in the school office or are available on the school website under the drop down menu Parents/Forms/. The information you provide will be used to check if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and, if you are on Universal Credit, that your earnings do not exceed the threshold. If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods.
If you are eligible, we will be notified. Your child will receive free school meals and we will receive extra funding.
If you are currently claiming free school meals in the Infant school, but don’t meet the new criteria, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end in March 2022.
Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary.
If you need any further information, please speak to a member of school staff or the local authority. You can also visit the free school meal website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.
We look forward to meeting you on the 10th July 2019.