October half term 2020

We have pledged to support thousands of children and young people with free school meals during the half term week. A letter providing parents with the details of how to access free school meal vouchers will be sent out in the post today. The vouchers will be available for parents to use in supermarkets this week and after half term.

22,000 children and young people in Sheffield receive free school meals and our team are working hard to get meal vouchers to parents as soon as possible. If any families need support before they receive the voucher, a number of local businesses are offering free meals for children. You can find out where they are at schoolmealfinder.org.

Schools are closed for half term and are not able to deal with school voucher requests. If there are any problems accessing the vouchers there you can call 0114 273 4567 for more support.

If you need financial support or to access a food bank please visit our Support for people page.

Automatic Award for Free School Meals – November and December 2020

We have been looking at the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support information that we already hold and found that a significant number of households may meet the criteria for free school meals, but have not yet made an application.

We want to increase the Pupil Premium funding for all academies and locally maintained schools in Sheffield, so we will be using Housing Benefit data that we already have to automatically award free school meals during the months of November and December.

Those families who appear to qualify for free school meals, but haven’t applied yet, are currently being contacted by letter to explain how the automatic award works. Our information sheet gives more background to the scheme to help you if you receive a letter.   

If your children attend one of the Oasis Academy schools; Don Valley, Fir Vale or Watermead, you will need to contact the school directly to apply for free school meals, as they manage their own free school meals application process.

If you have a child attending a Sheffield school or maintained nursery, you may be entitled to free school meals if you receive any of these benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods) 
  • Income Support
  • income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income related Employment Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

If you are over 18 and still attend school your free school meals will continue. If you are unsure about your eligibility please contact us.

In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals as follows: 

  • from 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time
  • in addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period
  • once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (ie primary or secondary)

Infant free school meals

If your child attends a state funded infant school and is in Key Stage 1 (reception, year 1 or year 2), they are entitled to ‘universal infant free school meals’ regardless of your income. You can contact your child’s school and tell them you would like to have ‘universal infant free school meals’.

Extra funding to support your child's education

If you apply for free school meals and you are successful:

  • your child’s school gets up to £1345 additional funding (Pupil Premium)
  • your child’s early years education provider gets up to £302 additional funding (Early Years Pupil Premium)

This funding is to support your child's education and can help to buy new equipment and resources.

Apply for free school meals

You can apply by:

  • completing an online application
  • asking the school to apply on your behalf
  • contacting us

The online application can be used by parents, carers, schools or professionals. You can apply online for up to 5 children.

Schools applying on behalf of parents or carers for 6 or more children should use their Anycomms batch collection upload template.

Contact us if your circumstances change. For example, if you no longer receive benefits, move house or change school, as this may affect your right to claim.

Next steps after you've applied

If your claim is successful, the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals. Schools will ensure that this information is treated with the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.