Children qualify for free school meals – and accordingly pupil premium – if you receive any of the following benefits:
These benefits have now been rolled into a single benefit, called Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is being rolled out, with an expected completion date of March 2022. All pupils who were eligible for free school meals up to April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals during this period.
Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants who no longer meet the eligiblilty criteria will still qualify for free school meals until the end of their current stage of education (i.e. primary or secondary).
Children who are or have been in care, and children who have a parent who is or was in the armed forces, are also entitled to pupil premium.
Schools are responsible for recording the children who are eligible for pupil premium in their annual school census - you don't have to do anything yourself, other than making sure you return any paperwork that relates to the benefits you receive or your child's entitlement to free school meals.
If your child qualifies for free school meals, it’s important that you tell their school – even if they're in Reception or KS1 and receive universal school meals for infant pupils, or are in KS2 and take a packed lunch – as this enables them to claim pupil premium.