Families feeling financial pressure are being urged to find out if their child could receive a free daily lunch at school which could save them up to £450 a year for each child.
As well as a healthy meal every school day, their school will receive extra government funding (called the Pupil Premium) towards more teaching staff, tuition or activities. This could be between £985 and £2,410 per year.
Dorset children who receive free school meals can also take part in free activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays.
Dorset Council provides a confidential checker so parents and carers can quickly see if they qualify. The schools do not see financial information about the families applying.
Cllr Andrew Parry, portfolio holder for Children, Education, Skills and Early Help, said: “Not only is a daily nutritious lunch good for your child’s health and wellbeing, but their school will also benefit from extra government funding for every qualifying student that takes up the offer.
“Some people have experienced change in their finances recently and may be unaware they are now eligible for free school meals. If you receive qualifying benefits, please complete our quick and easy confidential checker to see if your child can receive a daily free school meal, holiday activities and help your school receive more funding.”
Find out more and apply using the confidential checker at dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/free-school-meals
If you have any concerns, or questions you can also call 01305 221090.
A child may be able to get free school meals if their parent or carer receives any of the following: 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; this is as long as you’re not entitled to Working Tax Credit and your annual gross income is no more than £16,190; Working Tax Credit ‘run-on’ payment (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit); Universal Credit: this is as long as your household income is less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get).
Children, who are paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or carer, can also get free school meals.
Parents/carers will need to register to receive a passcode to access the activities and meals.
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