Reminder on useful funding support for low income families

Coun Robert Arckless.
Coun Robert Arckless.

Northumberland County Council is reminding families who receive state benefits that they may be entitled to claim free school meals.

All children in Reception and Years 1 and 2 qualify for free school meals regardless of their family income, but children in Year 3 and above do not automatically qualify.

Introduced in 2011, the pupil premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities and to close the gaps between them and their peers.

Schools use the funding to provide additional support targeted at helping the children to achieve their full potential.

Families may be eligible for free school meals – and accordingly the pupil premium – if they receive particular benefits such as an income-related allowance and a tax credit.

Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council, said: “Parents or carers may not be aware they are entitled to this funding.

“The pupil premium can be used by schools to address the barriers that prevent disadvantaged children achieving as well as their peers.

“I would encourage all families to check if they are eligible for free school meals. Eating a nutritious meal at lunchtime not only has health benefits, but the scheme helps support a number of low income families.”

For more information, call the council’s Free School Meals Team on 01670 623592.