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Free School Meals

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL9541, tabled on 20 July 2023

To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of children eligible for free school meals who are not registered to receive them; and what steps they are taking to encourage registration.

Answered on

4 August 2023

The department does not routinely collect information on the proportion of pupils that would be entitled to a Free School Meal (FSM) but do not make a claim.

The department wants to ensure as many eligible pupils as possible are claiming their FSM, and to make it simple for schools and local authorities to determine eligibility. To support this, the department provides an Eligibility Checking System to make processes as straightforward as possible. A model registration form has been developed to help schools encourage parents to sign up for FSM. In addition, the department provides guidance to Jobcentre Plus advisers, so that they can make Universal Credit recipients aware that they may also be entitled to wider benefits, including FSM.