Free school meal drive

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Derbyshire County Council is launching a campaign which aims to make sure that all school pupils entitled to free school meals claim them.

There are 3,000 school pupils in Derbyshire not getting their free school lunch, according to figures released by the Government.

Cllr Mike Longden, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We want to make sure that every pupil entitled to a free school lunch gets one.

“Parents don’t need to worry that other children will know that their child gets free school meals – only necessary school staff will know.”

“It is also important that every entitled child gets their free school meal as this affects how much funding a school gets. For every child claiming free school meals the Government gives the school £900 a year in the pupil premium payment.”

The county council’s campaign includes posters in buses, leaflets and posters sent to hundreds of places across Derbyshire, and schools sending the message out to parents.

And the council has made it easier for parents to apply for free school meals. A form is now on the council’s website at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals

Parents and carers are able to claim free school meals if they are on any of the following benefits:

* Income Support

* Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or an Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

* The guarantee element of State Pension Credit

* Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

* Child Tax Credit (with an annual income of less that £16,190)

Parents can’t claim free school meals if they claim Working Tax Credit.