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In England, children may be entitled to receive free school meals if their parents receive certain support payments. Currently post-16 pupils are only eligible for free meals if they attend a sixth form that is part of a school.
From September 2014, all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England will be eligible for free school meals. Free meals will also be extended to disadvantaged students in further education and sixth-form colleges to mirror entitlement in school sixth forms.
You should encourage parents of eligible children to register their child for free school meals before the January census of schools and pupils. This will ensure your school receives the maximum pupil premium allocation for that year.
Local authorities have access to the eligibility checking service and can help you find out who is eligible for free school meals.
The amount you receive in the financial year 2014 to 2015 will depend on how many eligible pupils are registered on the day of the school census. It will not be affected by the introduction of free school meals for all infant school children.
Your local authority will be able to tell you the last date to submit applications.
Schools should remind parents that:
To find out more about increasing take-up of free school meals, see the Children’s Food Trust Free School Meals Matter toolkit.
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This series brings together all statistical releases relating to school and pupil numbers.