Free school meals | CPAG

Free school meals

Time for Lunch: why children in poverty are currently denied free school meals

03 September 2021
For children living in poverty, school should be a place where they can access learning and essential opportunities in the same way as their peers. Free school meals should be available so children can eat during their school day without any worry and parents have one less thing to think about. That way, children can focus on learning, playing and fully participating in their education. Unfortunately, for more than a third of children in poverty in the UK, access to a free daily meal at school is denied.

Back to school – supporting pupils from low-income families in England

01 September 2021
For many pupils, families and school staff, excitement has been building for the start of the new school year. However, for some families experiencing poverty, this can be a time of anxiety. A time of increased costs as uniforms, PE kits, travel cards and stationery are needed. But there are some straightforward steps that schools can take to ensure that all families and children get off to a great start.

One million children in poverty miss out on free school meals in the UK

31 August 2021
A new report from Child Poverty Action Group and Covid Realities shows that 36% (about 1 million) of all school-aged children in poverty in the UK are not entitled to a free meal at school. The analysis shows that despite a rise in the number of children claiming FSMs between March 2020 and March 2021, restrictive eligibility criteria still prevent many in poverty from accessing any form of free school meal provision.

Fixing Lunch: The case for expanding free school meals

31 August 2021
Free school meal (FSM) provision has been thrust into the media spotlight during the pandemic. But how widespread is FSM coverage? How do parents feel about FSM provision? And what do they think could be done to improve it?

Post-COVID policy: child poverty, social security and housing

20 July 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the life of every child and their family in the country. Families with children have been among the worst affected, with job losses and increased costs of living from repeated lockdowns and school closures, causing many families to struggle financially. The pandemic has made life much harder for low-income households, those already living in insecure housing and at risk of homelessness, and those with precarious immigration status.

Tax credits and early years ebulletin June 2021

June 2021
Best Start school age payment, Best Start foods increase, pandemic payments and tax credit renewals

Cost of the School Day podcast

The Cost of the School Day podcast explores practitioners' work with schools to tackle poverty in the classroom.

Briefing for child food poverty debate

20 May 2021
A briefing for MPs for the child food poverty debate on 24 May.

One in four North East pupils living in poverty miss out on Free School Meals

12 May 2021
More than 35,000 pupils in the North East of England who live below the poverty line do not qualify for free school meals under current legislation. A new report, The Cost of Missing Lunchtime, by Children North East, Child Poverty Action Group and the North East Child Poverty Commission reveals one in four children from poorer families in the region are not entitled to a free, nutritious daily meal at school.

The Cost of Missing Lunchtime: A briefing on free school meals in the North East

12 May 2021
New calculations carried out by Child Poverty Action Group, Children North East and the North East Child Poverty Commission show that one in four North East children living below the UK poverty line (over 35,000 children) are not currently eligible for free school meals, and therefore miss out on the many proven benefits associated with the policy. In addition, more than one in ten North East children (11 per cent) who are eligible for free school meals do not take up this offer, meaning they do not benefit from the support that they are entitled to.