Pupil Premium Grant
Free School Meals and the Pupil Premium
I would like to take this opportunity to raise awareness amongst parents about Free School Meals and the Pupil Premium Grant.
A recent government report identified that there are approximately 250,000 children at school in England and Wales who would be eligible to receive Free School Meals but have not applied. The current economic climate has seen an increase in the number of children who would be eligible. Often eligible parents are reluctant to claim Free School Meals for their children and may feel that there is a stigma attached to the process – there should not be. We want to make sure that every child at MGS who is eligible for Free School Meals receives them.
Kent County Council has recently launched a new online application service for Free School Meals. It can be found via http://www.kent.gov.uk/ and type “Free School Meals” into the internal search box. This is easy to use and gives parents the opportunity to complete an eligibility assessment themselves to establish whether they are entitled to Free School Meals. If eligible, they can complete an application for Free School Meals and submit it directly online via the same site. To be eligible a pupil must be under 19 and in full-time attendance at a state-maintained school. The family must be in receipt of one of the following:
- Universal Credit – if applying on or after 1 April 2018 household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit (provided you are 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
Students who are in receipt of Free School Meals also bring additional government funding into the school. This funding is called the Pupil Premium Grant (PPG). Other groups also attract PPG funding- pupils who have claimed Free School Meals at any point in the last 6 years (Ever 6 FSM); pupils who are children of a parent in active service in the UK Armed Forces; Looked After Children and Children adopted from Care.
Information on how the School spends PPG funding can be found on the school website. At MGS, the very great majority of students do achieve their potential without the need for additional intervention and support. Sometimes, however, this is not the case and this is where the school will use the PPG to provide further support. It may be that children will need some help with literacy booster classes, Easter revision sessions, or attendance at Homework Club. It could also be that a child might benefit from support from the School’s qualified counsellor or MIND worker.
MGS would also like to offer a further tangible financial support to PPG students by offering parents access to a special PPG bursary fund. This is a further benefit of claiming Free School Meals and we would like to ensure that you are aware of this opportunity and are able to benefit from it if you wish to and are eligible. This year, we are allocating a grant of up to £100 to each eligible child between the ages of 11-16 (Years 7-11). This £100 grant can be used by parents to buy items of school uniform (which can be purchased by appointment from the Simmonds shop on the school site), school equipment, school resources (such as calculators, trigonometry sets, etc.) or revision books and textbooks. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list - if you purchase an item to support your son in his education at MGS then you can make a claim for reimbursement from the School Bursary. The claim form is available from below. Once you have made your purchase, please complete the claim form and return it directly to the School Bursary, together with receipts for the items purchased. Please, can I also stress that while we hope very much that eligible parents will respond positively to this grant, applications are entirely optional.
The grant can be claimed at any point between now and end of Term 1 next academic year: Claim deadline-Friday 18th October 2019. We set this deadline so that any unclaimed bursary funding can be redeployed to the full advantage of our PPG students over the rest of the financial year. However, should your circumstances change after the 18th October 2019 and you would like to apply for further financial assistance please do not hesitate to contact me in confidence and we will try to assist.
We realise, of course, that £100 is not a huge amount when one considers the total cost of kitting a child out for school. However, we would very much like to encourage eligible parents to make use of this funding and hope that this information will be both helpful and timely as we come to the end of this academic year and start to consider preparations and purchases for the new school year in September.
In addition to the £100 PPG bursary fund, we have also set aside a small sum of money to support children eligible for PPG to participate in compulsory curriculum school trips and visits. If you wish to access this fund then please contact me in confidence at the school's address as soon as you receive details of any trip or visit with which you would like assistance. As in previous years, we will continue to monitor the use of the PPG funding very closely this year and will review the sum of the bursary grant at the end of the year. We always welcome any feedback you may have on the use of this funding in school.
Finally, if your son does not qualify for Free School Meals but you are suffering financial hardship and wish to apply for a small contribution towards the purchase of educational equipment, resources or uniform for your son then please do not hesitate to contact me directly as the school may be able to help. Please be assured that all claims will be treated confidentially.