Thousands of children in Wolverhampton will be eligible to receive free school meals once again this year.
Under the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme, all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in Wolverhampton – around 9,000 children in total – can receive a healthy, cooked lunch at no cost to parents or guardians.
Parents do not need to register to receive these meals, but many schools will ask if your child intends to have them, so that the necessary arrangements can be made.
Meanwhile, around 8,000 more Wolverhampton youngsters in Year 3 and above are eligible for means-tested free school meals because their families meet certain eligibility criteria, for instance they are in receipt of specific benefits. Full details are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals, and parents who believe they meet the eligibility criteria for means-tested free school meals should contact their school as soon as possible.
Parents with an existing means-tested free school meal claim do not need to reapply or renew their application. This is because, under recent changes to the law, all current means-tested claims are protected until at least the end of a child’s primary school education; children with current means-tested claims in Year 3 and above remain eligible until they leave secondary school.
Anyone who is unsure whether or not they have a current means-tested claim should ask at school or email firstname.lastname@example.org to check; they do not need to start a new application.
For every child that is registered for means-tested free school meals, schools receive valuable Pupil Premium funding from the Government. Therefore, even if parents intend to provide packed lunches for their child, they are still encouraged to register with their school.
Councillor Lynne Moran, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Around 17,000 children and young people in Wolverhampton will once more be eligible to receive delicious and nutritious school lunches for free this year.
“Even if you are not eligible for free school meals, they offer excellent value for money and save parents the time, cost and effort of shopping for and creating healthy packed lunches every day; they can also relax knowing their children are well-fed and can relax and socialise with friends in a safe environment.”
To check out the primary and secondary school menus provided by the council, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/catering. For more information on free school meals, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals
Councillor Moran added: “It’s important that all parents who meet the eligibility criteria for means-tested free school meals register with their school, even if they don’t intend to take the meals or already receive them under the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme, as this means their school will receive additional Pupil Premium funding.”