Are you maximising income from Pupil Premium by making the most of the Free School Meals Eligibility Checker?
Since the 1st September 2018 £7 million has been saved by schools making use of this service. This is money that has been claimed by schools this year, at a time when budgets are decreasing.
The Free School Meal Checking Service is an online process where parents can check eligibility for free school meals. LGfL has taken this initiative, at no cost to schools or LAs, with the aim of supporting schools in maximising income from Pupil Premium as well as promoting the wider benefits of free school meals. It is estimated £50m of Pupil Premium is unclaimed within the London region alone because parents do not check for eligibility. Parents can conduct a simple online check to determine eligibility for free school meals which in turn may attract the extra funding for each of their children’s schools. Parents are not required to accept free meals but schools appreciate the help with conducting an online check.
What the service does for parents:
After entering a few details into the website, the online application process links to the Department for Education database and gives an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.
This system is designed to eliminate the need to apply in person for free school meals and improve the claims process for schools. It also means that if you are eligible for free meals, the school is able to process your application using the information you submit.
There is no need to re-apply each year, as schools can recheck eligibility as required using the data already provided – although if your child moves to a different school then you will need to update your account.
From 1 April 2018 the Department for Education have made changes to the Universal Credit Thresholds. Any pupil eligible for Free school meals before this date will be protected until 31 March 2022.
We have made a couple of enhancements to the website:
- LGfL or TRUSTnet schools can check eligibility on behalf of a parent, the parent will need to contact your child’s school, as they can run a check on your behalf.
- A parent of a child attending any LGfL or TRUSTnet school can now use this website to check their eligibility.
- A Certificate of Eligibility is available through our website for any child eligible for a free school meal that is attending a school in England. The Certificate of Eligibility should be taken to your child’s school.
How it works for schools:
As the government has now introduced free school meals for all children in Key Stage 1, it is more important than ever for schools to know how many pupils would otherwise be eligible for free meals as this may allow schools to apply for extra funding. These funds enable schools to take on more staff, invest in additional equipment, resources and activities to benefit all their children.
Schools wishing to encourage applications can promote the online eligibility checker to parents by publicising the following web address: fsm.lgfl.net.
Services available for LGfL and TRUSTnet schools:
After parents have submitted their details online, a suitably authorised school administrator will be able to facilitate the submission of claims by clicking on the ‘Administrators’ button and visiting the school administration section. The head teacher is an authorised school administrator by default but would normally nominate one or more staff members as additional administrators via this section of the site. Data will only be made available securely via this site. In order to use this FREE service, schools already subscribing to LGfL 2.0 or TRUSTnet services need to ensure that MIS data is exported regularly and that the school has configured an information status in the free OpenCheck service found at opencheck.lgfl.net.
By way of thanks for your application and support, and regardless of whether the answer returned is a yes or a no, The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and its connected schools would like to provide parents of children attending LGfL-connected schools with Sophos AntiVirus software, free of charge, to protect the computers used by pupils at home. To gain access to this software, a short registration process is required, at which point other services related to your children’s school will be explained. Don’t worry, its straightforward, there is absolutely no advertising, and you won’t be asked to buy anything! There is no catch, LGfL (a UK education charity) is providing this service to support schools.
Schools can find out more and how to set this up by downloading the guide for schools. This includes a template letter that schools can send out to parents to inform them off the service.
All submitted data is stored securely in compliance with the Data Protection Act. For additional information regarding data please see our privacy statement.