Statistics

Free school meal entitlement and child poverty in England

Statistics on free school meal entitlement in the current system and the impact on this of the announced extension to all infant school pupils

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Detail

In England a free school meal is a statutory benefit available to school aged children from families who receive other qualifying benefits and who have been through the relevant registration process.

On 17 September 2013 the Department for Education announced that all infant school pupils (pupils in reception and years 1 and 2) in state funded schools in England will be eligible for a free school meal from September 2014.

This statistical release estimates the number of children in relative and absolute poverty by free school meal entitlement in the current system and looks at the impact on this of the announced extension to all infant school pupils for 2014 to 2015. In addition, this release presents analysis of the number of families currently on free school meals in relative and absolute poverty which would stand to benefit from being able to increase working hours without losing free school meals following the increase in entitlement.