Parents and carers in Liverpool who think their children could be entitled to free school meals can now do so at the click of a mouse.
Liverpool City Council’s Benefits Service has introduced a new online application and eligibility checking service. It’s quick, easy and those who apply receive instant confirmation.
Free school meals are worth up to £3 per day – or a tasty £390 per year.
As well as boosting young people’s health and helping cash-strapped families, registering also helps boost schools’ coffers – regardless of whether pupils have a meal or not. Under the Government’s Pupil Premium model, school funding is based upon the number of pupils that are eligible – so if more families register, schools can benefit to the tune of thousands of pounds. Each primary school gets £1,300 per pupil, at secondary level it is £935 and if a young person is looked after looked after or adopted it is £1,900 per year.
Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said: “It’s vital that our young people eat a good, healthy meal during the school day and we know that some parents and carers aren’t aware they are eligible.
“On a day to day basis, it can help improve concentration and learning, and in the longer term it helps young people develop into healthy, happy young adults.
“Modern school menus are healthy, nutritious and tasty, with a wide range of choice, and we don’t want any young person to miss out.
“At a time when food bills are rising and benefit entitlement is being reduced, it is crucial that families do claim if they think they might be eligible.
“Most schools operate systems where no-one knows who is paying and who isn’t, so other pupils won’t know your child is getting free meals.
“It also provides a financial boost to schools, because they get additional cash for teaching each pupil that gets a free school meal.”