Processing claims and checking eligibility for free school meals for academies.
The Free School Meals Eligibility Check service is part of Support Services for Education, which provides a wide range of services to schools and other educational providers promoting educational excellence for all the children and young people of Somerset and beyond.
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By purchasing this service from Support Services for Education, Somerset Academies will benefit from the following:
The Academy will be provided with leaflets and encouraged to promote Free School Meals, including making the initial approach to a parent where helpful. The service charges will be a set price per application processed. However, in order to reduce bureaucracy, the Academy will be charged per academic year based on the numbers of pupils on roll entitled to Free School Meals at the Autumn census.
- Promoting the take up of free school meals to maximise access to pupil premium through marketing and awareness raising.
- Applications for Free School Meals will be processed by Support Services for Education.
- Automatic notifications as children become eligible for free school meals.
- Upon transition, the new Academy will be automatically notified where a child is already eligible for free school meals.
- Any Universal Infant Free School Meals applications sent in for Reception to Year 2 children will be checked for eligibility for pupil premium and the Academy will be notified.
- Parents may be more likely to claim via the Council than directly to the Academy and will only have to complete one form for all their children regardless of the schools attended.
FREE SCHOOL MEALS ELIGIBILITY CHECK
This service needs to be universally accessed to ensure that the full benefit of pupil premium can be achieved by Somerset schools. The central checking was previously funded by the Local Authority, but this money has been recouped and given to Academies. Support Services for Education would like to continue to offer this service to ensure all schools and families can benefit from the Government’s funding, e.g. pupil premium for families on low incomes.
The Free School Meals Service will provide a single point of contact for parents through Somerset Direct. Application forms are also available on-line and are available in other locations such as GP surgeries. The Academy will be given a supply of leaflets and application forms.
The service will process all application forms received, undertaking the necessary eligibility checks on behalf of the Academy.
The Academy will be notified of eligible children by email to the school office inbox on a weekly basis.
The Service will maintain all data relating to eligibility for Free School Meals.
Admissions and Entitlements Team Tel: 01823 355765 Email: FSM@somerset.gov.uk
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