It’s a new school year and now kids have returned after a long break, you might be wondering how to keep the costs down.
We’ve compiled some information on how you can get Free School Meals, and if you aren’t eligible, some resources on how to give them cheap healthy packed lunches.
Free School Meals Could your family get free school meals? If you are on any of these benefits you can apply:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
Your child can also get free school meals if they are in reception, year 1 or year 2. It’s easy to apply. You can fill out the form online.
Not only will your child get a free meal every day, but your school will also get extra funding from the government, so they can buy in more resources or pay more teaching assistants.
If you’re not entitled to a Free School Meal, then making a packed lunch could be a cheap, healthy option. Here are some great ideas for low cost packed lunches:
Cheap Packed School Lunches
If you want to keep your food budget low, join Facebook groups like ‘Feeding a family on £1 a day’ for ideas from other people across the UK
If you are a parent or carer struggling with costs at the moment, there is lots of advice and support out there. Visit our Children and Families page for more information or Citizens Advice ‘Help with School Costs’ and Turn 2 Us has released a 5 point guide of support with financial costs
FairShare Credit Union also offers £500 low interest Family Support Loan to people receiving Child Benefit.
NILS offers no interest loans to people in south Shropshire, up to £400 for essential items to be bought from local businesses.
Just Credit Union has given 7 great tips for coping with an expensive school year.