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Free School Meals: Eligibility

Question for Department for Education

UIN 110807, tabled on 14 December 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she plans to change the threshold of eligibility for free school meals.

Answered on

21 December 2022

The Department continues to monitor the consequences of the rising cost of living and is working with other Government Departments to provide support. The Department will continue to keep free school meal (FSM) eligibility under review, ensuring that these meals are supporting those who most need them. In setting a threshold, the Department believes that the current level, which enables pupils to benefit from FSM, while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one.

The latest published statistics show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, 37.5% of school children are now provided with FSM.