To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate she has made of the number of children in England who are eligible for free school meals and pupil premium but are not registered.
13 November 2017
I am sorry, but my department does not hold information on the number of pupils who are entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) but have not made a request.
However, we do monitor take-up of benefit related FSM. The latest figures show that overall, the proportion of compulsory school age pupils claiming free school meals is 14.0%, around 1.13 million pupils.
The current FSM eligibility criteria requires a claim for the meal to be made on behalf of the pupil. We know that schools and local councils have worked hard over recent years to encourage all eligible families to register for FSM, to ensure that schools receive the full amount of pupil premium funding to which they are entitled. It is possible for schools to identify these pupils, for example through their enrolment processes. We have highlighted and disseminated best practice from these schools and local councils for other schools to use, including a model registration form and guidance.