Schools in Calderdale are benefitting from over £600,000 worth of extra funding after the Council secured a higher take-up of free school meals.
Calderdale Council identified that some children who were eligible for free school meals were not claiming and therefore not receiving the extra funding available for their school.
Over the last two months the Revenues and Benefits Service has used housing benefit and council tax reduction records to identify a number of children who were eligible to receive free school meals, but were not currently claiming. Thanks to this research exercise, an additional 586 children are now receiving the free meals.
This not only benefits the families of these children, but also the schools they attend as for every pupil who receives free school meals, their school receives extra funding from central government, known as pupil premium.
Schools receive pupil premium funding for each child registered as being eligible for free school meals. The school receives £1,300 for each pupil in reception year to year 6 and £935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11.
The pupil premium funding is always spent in ways to directly benefit pupils, particularly those children who are vulnerable and need more support. This could be by employing additional staff to support pupils or providing financial support for educational visits or after school clubs.
By identifying the 586 pupils who were eligible for free school meals, the schools they attend have received additional funding of £685,000!
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Marcus Thompson, said:
“I’m delighted with how successful this exercise has been. It’s great news that the benefits service has managed to identify so many families who were not claiming what they were entitled to.
“This will obviously benefit the families of those pupils who were previously paying for their school meals, but it’s also a huge boost to the schools they attend, as they have received over £600,000 worth of extra funding.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Colin Raistrick, said:
“By identifying so many more pupils who are eligible for free school meals, we have significantly increased our pupil premium funding, which will benefit schools around Calderdale.
“This will make a real difference to pupils, giving them extra help where needed and improving their learning opportunities.”
For more information about free school meals and the eligibility criteria, visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/council/benefits/schoolmeals