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Russell Lower School

How to apply for Free School Meals

Free School Meals (FSM)

If your child is eligible for ‘free school meals’ (not to be confused with Universal Infant Free School Meals) and you register them for this, we’ll receive extra funding called ‘pupil premium’.

Your child may have already been receiving Early Years Pupil Premium at their pre-school setting however, in order for us to access this you will need to reapply now they have joined us.

We use this extra money to improve the educational provision and resources at the school.


The difference between UIFSM and PP

UIFSM – Currently, pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 are entitled to a free school meal thanks to a different government funding scheme known as universal infant free school meals (UIFSM). You shouldn’t confuse UIFSM with free schools meals and the pupil premium.

If your child is in reception, year 1 or year 2 and is eligible for ‘free school meals’ linked to pupil premium according to the criteria below, you should still register because we’ll receive the extra pupil premium funding to support your child.

PPG – only available on application and lasts for 6 years from approval. Pupil premium funding from the government is given to schools to help pupils reach their full potential, regardless of their background or financial situation. It’s provided for pupils who:

  • Are registered for free school meals
  • Have been registered for free school meals at any point in the past 6 years
  • Are, or have been, in care
  • Have parents in the armed forces

This additional money enables us to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after school activities.


Is my child eligible for free school meals?

Your child might be eligible if you access:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit, provided you have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)


Child tax credit: Your joint gross income is your household income before taxes are taken into account.

Universal credit: Your net earned income is your household income after taxes and deductions. It does not include income through Universal Credit or other benefits that you may receive.


Does my child have to eat the free school meals?

No. Pupils who are registered for free school meals don’t have to eat them. If you’re eligible but you want your child to have packed lunches you should still register because the school will receive the funding which can support your child in other ways.


How to apply for Pupil Premium

The school cannot apply for Pupil Premium for you unfortunately.

If you think you meet the free school meals/Pupil Premium eligibility criteria, please call Central Bedfordshire on 0300 300 8306.

When you call to apply for free school meals, please have the following information ready:

  • National Insurance numbers and dates of birth for you and your partner
  • dates of birth for your children
  • if you receive support from the National Asylum Support Service, your NASS number

Once completed we would also appreciate you letting us know you have made an application so we can update our records without delay.  If you are not sure if you apply please complete the form and bring it into school where we can assist you further.

If you experience any difficulty applying or you would like us to work through the application process with you, please do not hesitate to come into the school office.


More information

For more information about pupil premium and how it is spent at Russell go to the 'Pupil Premium' tab.