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Free school meals for all a threat to pupil premium?

21 March 2014

The problem with pupil premium is that schools do not receive the payments automatically. Parents have to register their claim in order for the school to receive the payments and this is a major hurdle faced by some schools. With current funding of £953 per year per child, parents failing to register can result in schools with large groups of eligible children missing out on substantial and entitled funds.

The fear is that with the introduction of free school meals for the first three years of primary school, those parents who are currently claiming may no longer do so. Schools need to tackle the stigma that is still attached to the ‘free school meal child’ and educate eligible parents as to what pupil premium could do for their child. Open communication and relationship building with the parents is key to making the most of this funding, which is due to rise to £1,300 next year.

Ultimately the way to solve this problem is for the Government to change policy and allow funding automatically on eligibility alone and remove the need for registration. In my view, chances of this are slim to none.

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