Schools fear missing out on £5m over free school meal deadline change

School lunch time

Parents of children likely to be eligible for means-tested free school meals in September are being urged to register before 21 July. - Credit: Getty Images

Parents of children likely to be eligible for means-tested free school meals in September are being urged to sign up by July 21 to avoid Norfolk schools missing out on £5m extra funding. 

Schools receive a pupil premium grant for every child registered for means-tested free school meals, but deadline changes mean children now have to be registered before the start of the new academic year.

It is believed that up to 2,500 children in Norfolk may be eligible.

Sarah Shirras, co-chair of Educate Norfolk and headteacher of St William’s Primary School in Thorpe

Sarah Shirras, senior adviser leadership and governance at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Sarah Shirras, senior adviser leadership and governance at Norfolk County Council, said: “The date on which the government counts this has changed, meaning it is really important for schools that families register as soon as they can.”

Means-tested free school meals are different to the universal infant free school meals provided to every child in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 regardless of family income.


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Families who sign up will receive an Edenred food voucher worth £10 for each eligible child.

More information on how to register can be found on the Norfolk County Council website.

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