Don't miss a story sign up to Weston Mercury's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

School cash budgets miss out when pupils fail to claim for free meals

20:00 25 August 2013

.

.

Archant

SCHOOLS are missing out on hundreds of thousands of pounds due to children not claiming free school meals.

Around 375 children in North Somerset who are entitled to free school meals are not claiming them, meaning schools are losing out on around £337,500.

Schools are given a pupil premium for every child who is registered for school meals – the rate currently stands at £900 per pupil each year.

North Somerset Council is now trying to track families down to let them know they are entitled to free meals.

Cllr Jeremy Blatchford, the authority’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “We have developed a system for collating information so we can try to find out children who are entitled to free school meals and aren’t claiming them.

“We can do this because they might already be claiming something off us, like housing benefit.

“Parents are unintentionally taking vast amounts of money off the school budget.

“They obviously might not want to take up the free meals, but we want to make sure they know they are entitled to them.”

Eighty per cent of children who are eligible for school meals in the district currently sign up to free dinners – around 1,500 children.

School meal uptake in North Somerset is slightly higher than the national average, but the council is striving to reach its target uptake of 90 per cent.

Lynda Mitchell, commissioning and contracts manager for the council, said: “We are proud of the quality of the school meal provision which provides high quality hot meals to pupils in every school in the authority and have seen school meal uptake double in the past six years.

“We have set an ambitious target of ensuring 90 per cent of entitled children take up their free school meal as we are clear of the links between a good diet, which includes a well cooked, hot nutritious school lunch, and the ability of pupils to concentrate, learn and behave better in the classroom.”

The council and schools are keen to make people aware of free school meal entitlement and information is given out with admission letters which can also be found on individual schools’ and the council’s website.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Sterling currency

Women in North Somerset have got into work at such a rate the district is now home to one of the lowest rates of female unemployment in Great Britain, it has been revealed.

Read more
32 minutes ago
King Alfred students celebrating their Sport Relief success.

King Alfred school, in Highbridge, is celebrating a wealth of sporting success this week after one of its students secured a sporting award and eager runners raised over £900 for Sport Relief.

Read more
09:05
The incident took place at about 1.30am this morning (Wednesday).

A major Weston-super-Mare road was closed this morning (Wednesday), following an incident which left a man with a serious head injury.

Read more
Manager Shane Webber with owners Kim Lamb and Ryan Morgan.

A bar and restaurant in Weston-super-Mare has been taken over by new owners and will revert back to its original name.

Read more
10:12

Crews were called to put out a tractor fire in Axbridge last night (Tuesday).

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00
Katelyn, Jessie and Liam running the tombola.

A Burnham community group celebrated its second anniversary last weekend with a ‘lovely’ event.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00
Secret World's last open weekend was a big success.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue, in East Huntspill, is on the lookout for local talent to take to the stage at this year’s Healing Weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:18

A 77-year-old woman was injured after a driver snatched her handbag from her while she was in a Weston-super-Mare car park.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:30
View of Highbridge and Burnham Town Sign.

Plans for a B&M store in Burnham appear to have come to a ‘frustrating’ halt, with the district council standing firm on a necessary car parking charge for the site.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:44
Glen Wallace

Police are concerned for the welfare of a 55-year-old man from Cheddar who has been reported missing.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 6°C

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder

Find planning applications