Free school meals could mean Bradford schools lose out on thousands of pounds in funding

Councillor Ralph Berry

Councillor Ralph Berry

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A government scheme to give free meals to young pupils could lead to Bradford schools losing out on thousands of pounds, fears a senior politician.

From September, all children in reception and Years 1 and 2 will automatically receive free school dinners.

Currently primary school children only get free school meals if their family receives benefits or tax credits and if that information is registered.

Children registered for free school meals trigger a “pupil premium” – a payment to the school to help improve attainment of these children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds. For primary schools, this is £1,300 per pupil.

However, with just a few months before universal free school meals begin, schools and education chiefs are worried that parents of new starters will not register their children for free school meals as they will receive them for free for three years anyway.

If eligible parents fail to register their children, it could leave schools missing out on thousands of pounds.

School governing body Ofsted also looks at numbers of pupils registered for free school meals when it comes to inspections – so fewer registered pupils could also mean schools suffer when it comes to judgements.

A recent meeting of the Bradford Schools Forum was told that schools needed to do all they could to make parents aware that they still needed to register their child for free meals.

Coun Ralph Berry, the executive for children’s services at Bradford Council, said: “The risk is it cuts across the policy of pupil premium. There are a lot of working poor, and some families are reticent to claim benefits.

“We have had teachers telling us that in order to keep getting pupil premium they will have to pressure families to still claim. If children are getting free meals for the first few years without families having to claim, then they might not, and school budgets will be hit. We have to work hard to ensure every potential new child signs up.”

Trish Gavins is the headteacher of Whetley Academy in Whetley Lane.

She said: “We’ve already put information on our website with links to application forms for free school meals. It is a danger that families won’t register until children are seven.

“Some schools will be very disadvantaged. It will make a big difference if schools don’t get the pupil premium they need. We will have to try and make sure this doesn’t happen."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Schools will continue to receive pupil premium funding on the same basis as now.

"In local authority areas that have already introduced UIFSM [universal infant free school meals], the number of eligible pupils not claiming free school meals is very low.

"There will continue to be a very strong incentive for parents to sign up — at £1,300 per child the pupil premium will mean significant extra support for their child. Schools also have a very strong incentive to identify eligible parents."

Comments (11)

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7:15am Fri 30 May 14

Albion. says...

It should be up to parents to supply their children's needs. Sadly some are neglecting to do that, but just handing out free meals to everyone isn't addressing the actual problem and might even lead to further neglect at other times of day.
It should be up to parents to supply their children's needs. Sadly some are neglecting to do that, but just handing out free meals to everyone isn't addressing the actual problem and might even lead to further neglect at other times of day. Albion.
  • Score: 10

7:30am Fri 30 May 14

bd7 helper says...

Quality healthy dinner means quality education
Quality healthy dinner means quality education bd7 helper
  • Score: -5

11:04am Fri 30 May 14

henjni says...

How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children.
There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.
How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help. henjni
  • Score: 2

11:42am Fri 30 May 14

Albion. says...

henjni wrote:
How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children.
There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.
"How is this a bad thing?"
Well some might argue that it is exactly that, they contributed to the education costs of your kids and probably accepted that, but some of that money (and more besides) is now being used to feed your offspring. It might well be argued that isn't fair and is simply subsidising your responsibilities as a parent.
[quote][p][bold]henjni[/bold] wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.[/p][/quote]"How is this a bad thing?" Well some might argue that it is exactly that, they contributed to the education costs of your kids and probably accepted that, but some of that money (and more besides) is now being used to feed your offspring. It might well be argued that isn't fair and is simply subsidising your responsibilities as a parent. Albion.
  • Score: 4

11:48am Fri 30 May 14

Not so simple says...

Sad day. It is known fact that some children do not have a one decent meal a week and the the only way they have the required nutrients is via a
Free school meal.

Sad day when the well being of child is ignored to save a few pounds.

As a tax payer and voter I urge you all to get in touch with your MP and city hall: ask them to bring their own tea and biscuits to work and associated meetings. Ask the councillors and employees to pay for their own parking rather then have discounted or free parking. Sack the top three tiers of management in the council and it's associated bodies. No more foreign trips for councillors using expenses to pay for them.

Use the money raised from the highwaymen parking attendants to pay for the free meals.

That should save enough money to maintain free school meals for all the children throughout the district regardless of social background.

This all goes to show that the council is full of people who are out if touch with the masses. Give me a year in charge of this heap in city hall and I will change these for the better for ever with huge public approval.

Again city hall not fit for purpose: sack the lot of em
Sad day. It is known fact that some children do not have a one decent meal a week and the the only way they have the required nutrients is via a Free school meal. Sad day when the well being of child is ignored to save a few pounds. As a tax payer and voter I urge you all to get in touch with your MP and city hall: ask them to bring their own tea and biscuits to work and associated meetings. Ask the councillors and employees to pay for their own parking rather then have discounted or free parking. Sack the top three tiers of management in the council and it's associated bodies. No more foreign trips for councillors using expenses to pay for them. Use the money raised from the highwaymen parking attendants to pay for the free meals. That should save enough money to maintain free school meals for all the children throughout the district regardless of social background. This all goes to show that the council is full of people who are out if touch with the masses. Give me a year in charge of this heap in city hall and I will change these for the better for ever with huge public approval. Again city hall not fit for purpose: sack the lot of em Not so simple
  • Score: -4

12:23pm Fri 30 May 14

Lara124 says...

Hey, I had this problem and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 18 pounds in one month without much exercise and it's been a life changer. I'm a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I've been doing then I'd be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at secretosdelara@gmail
.com and I'll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I've tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day
Hey, I had this problem and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 18 pounds in one month without much exercise and it's been a life changer. I'm a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I've been doing then I'd be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at secretosdelara@gmail .com and I'll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I've tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day Lara124
  • Score: -5

1:51pm Fri 30 May 14

bluebluerobin says...

Another reason for not voting LibDem (if anybody still does).
Another reason for not voting LibDem (if anybody still does). bluebluerobin
  • Score: -1

4:19pm Fri 30 May 14

moorhead1 says...

henjni wrote:
How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.
How is this a bad thing? The concept of free school meal is not designed for the likes of you, it is designed for the needy who cannot afford to pay, and you clearly can. not only that you can also afford to save it for x amount of years, this is abuse of the system.
Another member of the "owt for nothing brigade"
The likes of you are despicable scroungers.
Tell your benefit advisor i said so.
[quote][p][bold]henjni[/bold] wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.[/p][/quote]How is this a bad thing? The concept of free school meal is not designed for the likes of you, it is designed for the needy who cannot afford to pay, and you clearly can. not only that you can also afford to save it for x amount of years, this is abuse of the system. Another member of the "owt for nothing brigade" The likes of you are despicable scroungers. Tell your benefit advisor i said so. moorhead1
  • Score: 8

12:02am Sat 31 May 14

lazybeat says...

henjni wrote:
How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children.
There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.
I would rather my taxes go towards this than the prison services.
[quote][p][bold]henjni[/bold] wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.[/p][/quote]I would rather my taxes go towards this than the prison services. lazybeat
  • Score: -2

2:24am Sat 31 May 14

ivegate says...

lazybeat wrote:
henjni wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.
I would rather my taxes go towards this than the prison services.
Completely agree, would rather my taxes went to boko harum which some undoubtedly does via overseas aid than subsidise irresponsible parents in the united kingdom who have children without a thought how they are going to feed them and people like henjni who can afford to feed hers/his children and still expects the state to pay.
[quote][p][bold]lazybeat[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]henjni[/bold] wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.[/p][/quote]I would rather my taxes go towards this than the prison services.[/p][/quote]Completely agree, would rather my taxes went to boko harum which some undoubtedly does via overseas aid than subsidise irresponsible parents in the united kingdom who have children without a thought how they are going to feed them and people like henjni who can afford to feed hers/his children and still expects the state to pay. ivegate
  • Score: 1

6:31am Sat 31 May 14

Albion. says...

ivegate wrote:
lazybeat wrote:
henjni wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.
I would rather my taxes go towards this than the prison services.
Completely agree, would rather my taxes went to boko harum which some undoubtedly does via overseas aid than subsidise irresponsible parents in the united kingdom who have children without a thought how they are going to feed them and people like henjni who can afford to feed hers/his children and still expects the state to pay.
So how is that agreeing?
[quote][p][bold]ivegate[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]lazybeat[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]henjni[/bold] wrote: How is this a bad thing? This is nice. I have older children and my 4 year old will be starting school in September and I am happy to hear that I can save money and put it aside for her education as I'm already doing for all my children. There are genuine people who need school meals to be free. It is a massive help.[/p][/quote]I would rather my taxes go towards this than the prison services.[/p][/quote]Completely agree, would rather my taxes went to boko harum which some undoubtedly does via overseas aid than subsidise irresponsible parents in the united kingdom who have children without a thought how they are going to feed them and people like henjni who can afford to feed hers/his children and still expects the state to pay.[/p][/quote]So how is that agreeing? Albion.
  • Score: 7

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