With the good news this week that all infant age children will sit down to a free meal, NAHT wants to ensure that parents on low incomes can help their children’s school receive extra funding even though it is no longer necessary to register for a free school meal.
In the past, when families who get benefits registered for free school meals they may not have realised their school would receive a ‘pupil premium’ payment which now amounts to £1,300 per year. This funding is used by schools to help those children meet their full potential.
Russell Hobby, General Secretary of NAHT said “One concern of our members is that parents of infant age children will no longer register for the pupil premium. This would have serious financial consequences for schools and their children’s education.
“Pupil Premium money is one important way to help schools close the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers by providing funds for extra support and enrichment activities in the classroom.
“This term we are asking parents to look out for forms from school in book bags which may ask them, in confidence, if they are eligible to register for the pupil premium.
"We also urge government to share its own benefits data in future so that local authorities will already know how many children are eligible in each school which would mean one less job for school leaders and parents.”
The DfE’s own figures show that currently 11 per cent of children eligible for free school meals are not registered for the pupil premium. In some areas of the country, this figure is as high as to 33 per cent.
Page Published: 02/09/2014