Gloucester Academy Parents & Students

FAQs about Free School Meals

What’s happening about free school meals?

If your child is entitled to free school meals and you have registered with the school we are supplying vouchers to cover the cost of 20 days’ worth of lunches from Tuesday 24th March through to Monday 4th May. You should receive an email from your school with details of the voucher which you can redeem at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose. Please note the voucher can only be redeemed in store.

From Monday 20th April, parents of children registered for free school meals will be sent an eCode via email by Edenred, the company commissioned by the government to provide families with vouchers. Parents and carers should also make sure to check their spam folders for this email.

This eCode can be used to purchase an e-card from a selection of supermarkets. This e-card works in the same way as a gift card from a store.

This new scheme also allows us to combine funding where a family has more than one child eligible for benefit-related Free School Meals. So if you have 3 children in your family, all the money for all 3 children will go on one e-card.

More information about how the Edenred vouchers work, click here: https://www.edenred.co.uk/rewa..

If you have not received your email voucher via email or you are not registered then please make us aware and we will advise accordingly.

I have received an email asking me to provide my bank details. What do I do?

We have been alerted by the DFE that some parents have received an email stating:

'As schools will be closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported'.

This is a scam email - do not respond and delete immediately.

Am I eligible for free school meals?

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • 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)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

  • Younger than the compulsory age for starting school
  • In full-time education
  • If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2022.

You can find further information about free school meal eligibility by visiting: Apply for free school meals

How do I register for free school meals?

Each local authority has their own process for managing free school meal applications. All schools within the White Horse Federation fall in one of the following five local authorities. Below are the links that will take you to the appropriate web pages where you can read further information and if required start your free school meals application.

Swindon: Free School Meals Information

Wiltshire: Free School Meals Information

Oxfordshire: Free School Meals Information

Reading: Free School Meals Information

Gloucestershire: Free School Meals Information

What happens if my child claims universal infant free school meals?

Universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) is different to free school meals. UIFSM is available to all children in reception class, year 1, and year 2 in a government-funded school without the need for registering with the local authority. We have not received funding to issue vouchers to children who receive UIFSM. We have only received the funding to issue vouchers to children who are registered with the local authority for free school meals.

If you are eligible for free school meals you should register even though you’re receiving UIFSM because your child will receive additional financial support including vouchers. For more information on how to register see our FAQ ‘How do I register for free school meals’.

How do the vouchers work?

From Monday 20th April, parents of children registered for free school meals will be sent an eCode via email by Edenred, the company commissioned by the government to provide families with vouchers. Parents and carers should also make sure to check their spam folders for this email.

This eCode can be used to purchase an e-card from a selection of supermarkets. This e-card works in the same way as a gift card from a store.

This new scheme also allows us to combine funding where a family has more than one child eligible for benefit-related Free School Meals. So if you have 3 children in your family, all the money for all 3 children will go on one e-card.

Once parents have received their eCode, they will be able to redeem them in a supermarket of their choice, from the list provided in the email, by either:

Presenting the gift card, as an e-card on a smartphone or tablet.

Presenting a paper copy of the gift card that you have printed at home.

To make sure registered families receive the eCode and instructions as they should, we encourage parents and carers to make sure their school has a correct email address.

More information from Edenred can be found here: https://www.edenred.co.uk/rewa...

I have not received a voucher?

There could be a number of reasons that you have not received a free school meal voucher.

You need to be registered with the local authority. For more information on how to register see our FAQ ‘How do I register for free school meals’.

The email address on record at the school needs to be up to date. The COVID-19 restrictions means that vouchers are distributed electronically via email. If the email address we have on record is different to the one you use, then you may not be receiving the necessary emails.

If you’re satisfied that both of these points above are completed, and you’re still experiencing an issue then please get back in touch and we’ll escalate this as necessary.

How do I use the voucher?

Once parents have received their eCode, they will be able to redeem them in a supermarket of their choice, from the list provided in the email, by either:

  • Presenting the gift card, as an e-card on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Presenting a paper copy of the gift card that you have printed at home.

Please note the voucher can only be redeemed in store.

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