Free School Meals (and pupil Premium Funding)

The Government provides schools with additional funding for any pupil who has been eligible for free schools meals within the last 6 years. Checking eligibility for free school meals benefits both the child/child’s family AND the school. Some families may be entitled to free school meals which could save parents £10.25 per week, per child, which is nearly £800 per year for a parent with two children at school. Also, the Government provides school with additional funding for any pupil who might have been eligible to free school meals at any time during the last 6 years (even if this was only for a very short period of time – perhaps when a parent was between jobs). Therefore, it is very important for the child/child’s family and the school to check eligibility for free school meals.

The school will also receive what is known as Pupil Premium Funding.

We have a system that enables us to check any parents’ eligibility against the data held by the Department for Education’s Eligibility Checking Service (ECS). As pupils’ circumstances may change at any time, once we have entered a parent’s details, the system will regularly update and we will have access to up-to-date information without ever needing to contact you again.

This service offers a number of benefits for parents/carers, including:-

  • Offering a faster, simpler and more convenient application process
  • Delivering instant notification of entitlement
  • Reducing application errors through computer assisted validation
  • Removing the need for reapplication where eligibility continues
  • Removing the need for face-to-face meetings as these will no longer be required for application.
  • Removing the need for parents having to go to Derby City Council’s offices, as everything will be done at CJS.

As you can understand, this funding is extremely important and is used to benefit your child in many areas of school life. In order for us to claim this income, all we require is your name, date of birth and National Insurance Number. You can register yourself by logging on to or call in at the school office and let a member of the office team help you by logging on whilst you complete your check.

We will be eligible to receive extra funding for pupils of parents who are in receipt of the following benefits:-

  • 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 Guarantee element of State 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’ – the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they 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) at the time of your application. Thresholds vary in Scotland and Northern Ireland, see below. If your income goes above the threshold in the future, but you remain on Universal Credit, your child will remain eligible. If you applied before 1 April 2018 there was no household income threshold for Universal Credit claimants.

Universal Credit and free school meals

Any child of a Universal Credit claimant, who was getting free school meals as at 1 April 2018 under the old criteria (no income threshold), or makes a successful new claim after 1 April 2018 under the new criteria (with the income threshold) will keep their free school meals until March 2022, even if the household’s income rises above the income threshold – as long as they remain on Universal Credit.

At March 2022 if the pupil is still at school they will keep their free school meals until they move to the next phase of education (primary or secondary).

Because of the changes it means that one child could be entitled to a free school meal and a sibling not entitled. For example, if a Universal Credit claimant with 2 children has net earnings of £10,000 and applied for free school meals for their eldest child in September 2017, the application would have been successful as there was no income threshold. The free school meal for that child is protected. In September 2018 the younger child is not eligible for a free school meal because the household income is over the newly introduced threshold.

Other Pupil Premium Funding

The school will also receive additional funding if your child:

  • Has been looked after by the Local Authority in care for at least one day.
  • Has been adopted from care.
  • Has left care through special guardianship.
  • Is subject to a child arrangement order.