Free School Meals

We encourage all eligible families to apply for free school meals (FSM).  As well as the reassurance that an eligible student is receiving a healthy, nutritious meal every school day, FSM eligibility can also open up other avenues of financial support.

Eligibility

Prior to April 2018, children qualified for free school meals – and accordingly pupil premium – if the parent received any of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of state pension credit
  • Child tax credit, provided that you are not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of £16,190 or less.

These benefits have now been rolled into a single benefit, called Universal Credit. From April 2018, free school meals and pupil premium will only be allocated to pupils with a family income under £7,400 (net) per year.

If your child qualifies for Free School Meals, or maybe eligible for the Pupil Premium it is important you let the Academy know.

Eligibility has to be verified and at Buckler’s Mead Academy we use Somerset County Council (SCC) to do this on our behalf.  You do not have to provide proof of receipt of benefits.  SCC will run a check on receipt of your application and confirm to you and us at Buckler’s Mead if you are eligible or not within 5-10 working days.  As soon as you have been advised that you are eligible and that your application has been approved, please could you contact the Academy Office to ensure that there is no delay in setting your child up to receive FSM.

How do I apply?

If you believe you may be eligible and would like to apply for free school meals for your child please follow this link: FSM Application and complete the application form. Alternatively, contact the Academy Office on 01935 424454 for further information.

How does the Free School Meal system work at Buckler’s Mead Academy?

Students entitled to a FSM will receive a daily allowance as follows:

  • £1.05 to be spent on a breakfast between 7.30am and 8.15am (this additional temporary allowance started in October 2017 and is subject to a review)
  • £2.20 to be spent on a meal at lunchtime between 1.05pm and 1.35pm.

Please note – the FSM allowance does not include purchases at break-time.

The Academy encourages all FSM students to either have a hot lunchtime meal (the meal of the day including a pudding and drink costs £2.20) or a sandwich / baguette / salad / pasta (prices start from 80p) from our ‘Grab and Go’ unit.

If a FSM student spends more than £1.05 at breakfast or £2.20 at lunchtime, and/or any purchases at break-time, these extra costs will need to be paid for by the parent / carer.  Money can be added to the student’s catering account on-line using Wisepay.  Alternatively, there is a cash machine in the Dining Hall which can be used to ‘top-up’ student accounts. Any unspent FSM allowance will not carry over to the following day.

The FSM allowance must not be used to purchase food or drinks for other students.

It is vital that the food our Academy offers is nutritious and beneficial to the health of students. A healthy, balanced diet is not only vital for our students’ long-term well-being, it also aids learning in the classroom and leads to improved educational outcomes.  We therefore expect our students to purchase a nutritious meal with the FSM allowance (e.g. hot meal or sandwich) and not use the allowance to buy only a cake or a drink.

A new set of standards for all food served in schools came into force in January 2015.   These school food standards are intended to help children develop healthy eating habits and ensure that they get the energy and nutrition they need across the whole day.  The standards provide a nutritional safety net for children and assurance to parents / carers.  Further information on the standards is available on the Department of Education website.

Please can we also encourage you to speak to your child / children about the importance of eating a healthy diet? You can track what is being purchased each day via the Wisepay system.

How is the FSM allowance given to my child?

All students at Buckler’s Mead have their own personal catering account.  For those in receipt of FSM, the allowance at £3.25 per day is automatically credited to their account.    This amount cannot be accumulated as any unspent balance is cleared to zero at the end of the school day.  Parents/carers can ‘top-up’ their catering account via Wisepay Online Payments, students can pay cash using the Cash Payment Station located in the Dining Hall.  FSM eligible students have the same experience at the tills as all other students, using their thumb or pin number to purchase their items.