Free School Meals

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Schools, colleges and education settings can find information and resources, including links to DfE guidance to support provision during the Covid-19 pandemic.

East Sussex County Council are reviewing Czone and the Virtual School Bag (VSB). To have your say, please complete the online survey. Closing date is 17 December.

Please see the latest guidance from the DfE - Providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

2. Transitional arrangements from 1 April 2018

The DfE made amendments to the eligibility criteria on 1 April 2018. As a result, interim protections were given to pupils who might otherwise have lost free school meals following the changes to the eligibility criteria. The transitional protections will be awarded as follows:

• Any pupil who is in receipt of free school meals on 1 April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This applies even if their parent no longer meets the eligibility criteria.

• Any pupil who gains eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period. This applies even if their parent no longer meets the eligibility criteria at a subsequent point during the rollout period.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, children of existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary). The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2023.

What about younger siblings?

Transitional protections are put in place on an individual child basis, not on a family basis. This means that younger children will not become entitled to free school meals simply because their older sibling is in receipt of transitional protections. Extending transitional protections to families would lead to unfairness in the system for those children without older siblings.

The younger child must meet the eligibility criteria at the time the application for free school meals is made in order to be entitled to free school meals.

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