Free School Meals
WHAT ARE FREE SCHOOL MEALS AND HOW DO I FIND OUT IF MY CHILD IS ENTITLED TO THEM?
Children eligible for Free School Meals can get a free school dinner or packed lunch every day, provided by the school. Just over a third of our children at Gleadless are eligible for Free School meals. The school receives additional funding to support children who are eligible for free school meals in other ways as well.
If you have a child attending a Sheffield school or school nursery, you may be entitled to free school meals if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
- Income Support
- income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income related Employment Support Allowance
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
You can apply for benefit related free school meals by:
- completing an online application here https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/utilities/form/schools-and-childcare/free-school-meals-start
- asking the school to apply on your behalf
- contacting Sheffield City Council on 0114 273 4567
Information you will need to apply:
- the details of each child to be claimed for including their date of birth
- each child's school year group
- the parent or carer's details including their date of birth, address, phone number and email address
- the parent or carer's National Insurance (NI) number or National Asylum Seeking Service (NASS) number
We would strongly encourage all parents of children in school to apply for free school meals if you think you may qualify.
If you apply for free school meals and you are eligible:
- your child will be entitled to free school meals and free school milk
- our school will get up to £1345 additional funding for each school year (known as Pupil Premium funding)
- your child’s early years education provider will get up to additional funding (Early Years Pupil Premium
Pupil Premium funding is additional money provided to schools for children eligible for free school meals, those who have been looked after by the local authority and children of armed service personnel. Funding is also provided for any pupils who have been eligible for free school meals within the past 6 years, even if their family circumstances mean they are no longer eligible.
Listed below are a few of the ways in which we use the pupil premium funding to support the most disadvantaged children in school:
- training for teachers so every lesson is an excellent lesson for all children
- additional technology to support teaching and learning
- additional tuition across the curriculum
- additional sports coaching
- speech and language interventions
- a full time Sports Leader
- Learning Mentor and Pastoral Team in school
- subsidised funding for educational visits
- Attendance Officer employed to support excellent attendance
Universal Infant Free School Meals
(UIFSM) provides funding for all government funded schools to offer free school meals to all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. The UIFSM is a different type of funding from that of benefits-related free school meals. However, it is important that parents who receive one of the qualifying benefits listed above to still register for benefits-related free school meals even if their child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 as this enables the child’s school to claim pupil premium funding and if you qualify will enable your child to receive not only free school meals but also free school milk and subsidised (in most cases free) school trips.
Next steps after you've applied
If your claim is successful, the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals. Schools will ensure that this information is treated with the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.
Your child does not have to have school meals, although one will be available free of charge at any time until your circumstances change and you no longer qualify. But the value of the meal is worth around £500 per year to you and you could put the money you spend on a packed lunch towards other things. Also, children often will eat meals at school if they see their friends having them. They often try different foods at school rather than at home.
We are always happy to help families with this process so if you have any question or need any help applying for Free School Meals you can contact us by phone on 0114 2399705 or email on email@example.com
Frequently asked questions
Q: Do I need to let the school know that I have applied for FSM?
A: No - the school receives regular updates from Sheffield City Council informing us of anyone who has applied. Once we have confirmation from the Council we update our systems so that you are no longer charged when your child orders a school meal.
Q: Who will know that my child is receiving free school meals?
A: Only you and a limited number of staff at your child's school will know that your child is receiving free school meals. This information will be dealt with confidentially and with sensitivity and your child will not be treated any differently. Children queue up and eat their dinner alongside each other regardless of how they pay for dinners.
Q: What if my circumstances change?
A: You will need to contact the Free School Meals Team on 2734567 (selecting option 4 then option 3) . For example, if you no longer receive benefits, move house or change school, as this may affect your right to claim. They can check if your child is still eligible and give you an end date if not. Your child’s school will continue receiving additional funding and your child will continue to be eligible for subsidised school trips and milk etc.
Q: What if my child changes schools?
A: If your child transfers school and was receiving free school meals at their previous school you do not need to reapply as entitlement will transfer automatically to their new school if it is still a school in Sheffield (this also applies to Y6 transferring from Junior to Secondary school). If your child is moving into Sheffield from out of the City you must inform the Sheffield School Meals team of your previous eligibility to free school meals and which local authority/school you have come from.
Q: What happens when my child goes on a school trip?
A: Your child can be provided with a nutritious, packed lunch instead of a school meal. This will need to be ordered in advance via the school office.
Q: Are school dinners a healthy option?
A: Your child will be served freshly-cooked, high-quality food. All meals meet government School Food Standards for healthy meals and these standards are to ensure that food provided to pupils in school is nutritious and of high quality; to promote good nutritional health in all pupils; protect those who are nutritionally vulnerable and to promote good eating behaviour.