For families in receipt of Universal Credit, and certain other benefits, we are able to provide financial support and Free School Meals to those who are eligible.
If you are receiving certain benefits and think you may be entitled to Free Schools Meals, it is now much simpler than ever. Use the online link below and your eligibility status will appear on screen within minutes and the school is also notified of the outcome. There is no need to bring any documentation into school. Once registered for Free School Meals, this entitlement lasts until the end of Year 11, with no additional checks required.
Students who are eligible for Free School Meals will receive the equivalent of £350 a year in their meal allowance, which entitles them to both breakfast before school and a meal during the day. Furthermore, for every student that is registered for Free School Meals, the school will receive an additional £935 in funding, enabling us to provide subsidised school trips for eligible students and other financial benefits.
We operate a cashless catering system in school whereby the meal allowance is added to the student’s account on a daily basis, so is entirely confidential and anonymous.
For students experiencing genuine cases of hardship, we do have a small hardship fund which can be awarded on a discretionary basis.
We are entirely cashless as a school, which means that there is no need for students to bring money into school. It also means that everyone's account appears the same at the till, whether they are FSM or the balance has been topped up by families. Parent Pay is also used for paying for school trips and other events in school
Entirely confidential, and easy to check your eligibility. Once confirmed, you do not need to apply again.
Is my child eligible for free school meals?
Parents who live in England / Wales can claim free school meals for their child if they or their partner get one of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The ‘Guarantee’ element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190
- Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Children who get these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.
What will my child get if they are eligible for free school meals?
Your child will receive:
- an allowance for breakfast (currently £1.50) which must be used before 8.30am
- an allowance for that can be used at either breaktime (currently £2.60)
This is added on to their account on a daily basis; any unused allowance does not carry over to the next day.
Your child will also be eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant, which is an additional sum of £935 a year, which is paid to the school, to support the education of disadvantaged students in a number of ways. Please see our page on Pupil Premium for details of how this is spent https://prospect.reading.sch.uk/pupil-premium/
What if I stop receiving benefits?
Once your child has been assessed as eligible for free school meals, they will retain this until the end of Year 11, whatever your change in circumstances, as long as they remain at Prospect School.
What happens if my child is in the Sixth Form?
The funding is slightly different in the Sixth Form. The eligibility criteria is broadly the same, but an application has to be made via the Bursary Fund.
I'm not receiving benefits, but still face financial hardship; is there any other help?
We have a small discretionary hardship fund to support families who are experiencing acute financial hardship. Please contact our Deputy Headteacher in confidence if your require further information as to how we may be able to help firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Family Liaison Officer may also be able to provide help in directing you towards other sources of support email@example.com