Special Needs and Free School Meals

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,

Some pupils in special schools have percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes which are placed endoscopically, which means they are 'tube-fed'. These pupils do not take a school meal but their families may be in receipt of benefits which would otherwise entitle them to a free school meal. These families are unlikely to consider applying for a free school meal but this means that special schools may be losing out on Pupil Premium funding.

Can the Department state how many 'tube-fed' pupils receive Pupil Premium?

Many thanks

Yours faithfully,

Mrs J R Thompson

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Mrs Thompson

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2017-0023963.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

show quoted sections

Dear Department for Education,

I do not appear to have received a reply to my FoI enquiry regarding Special Needs & Free School Meals.
Please can you let me know when I can expect to receive a response?

Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

June Thompson

MINISTERS, Department for Education

 

Dear Mrs Thompson

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 24
April. I am sorry for the delay in responding to you.

You requested information on how many ‘tube-fed’ pupils receive the pupil
premium.   I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000.

 

The Department for Education does not collect data on the number of pupils
who are tube-fed. I am sorry that I could not be of more assistance.

If you have any queries about this letter, please do not hesitate to
contact me, quoting the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

 

Nick Ceadel

PE and School Sport Team| Healthy Pupil Unit Disadvantage Division | Life
Skills, Disadvantage and SEND Group

Department for Education

Tel: 0370 000 2288

 

Dear Department for Education,

Thank you for your reply, however it does reveal that the data collected by the DfE is incomplete.

All schools submit termly census data for students to the DfE which includes information about those in receipt of free school meals. Free school meals eligibility is a deprivation indicator and directly relates to Pupil Premium funding. It is a concern that schools, where pupils are tube fed (due to their medical needs), may miss out on Pupil Premium funding as parents/carers may believe that they are not eligible to apply for free school meals as their child would not be able to take these. Schools have also noticed that those pupils in receipt of Universal Free School meals do not apply for Free School Meals, where eligible, again reducing the amount of Pupil Premium funding getting to schools.

Consideration should be given to collecting data on tube fed pupils. Even better if, as the Department for Work & Pensions is aware of those families in receipt of the benefits that would make their child/ren eligible for free school meals, this data should be shared with schools to ensure that Pupil Premium is allocated correctly.

Yours faithfully,

June Thompson

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Ms June Thompson,

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2017-0029270.

 

Thank you                                                                 

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Mrs Thompson 

Thank you for your email regarding free school meals and tube fed
children.

 

In order to be eligible for free school meals, a child must fulfil the
requirements in respect of the benefit criteria, and a request must be
made on behalf of that child for FSM. However it is not the case that the
pupil has to have an actual meal.  Therefore, it would be up to the school
to encourage parents of tube-fed children to make a claim for FSM in order
for the school to receive the pupil premium for that child. Similarly,
parents of infant pupils who receive a free school meal because of
universal infant free school meals can be encouraged to apply for FSM if
they are eligible, so that the school will receive the pupil premium for
their children.

 

We are determined to give every child, regardless of their background, the
very best start in life. Both free school meals (FSM) and the pupil
premium (which links to FSM eligibility) are key to this, and we want all
parents whose children are entitled to free school meals to apply for
them.

We understand there are some concerns that schools could be missing out on
valuable pupil premium funding following the introduction of universal
infant free school meals (UIFSM) and under registration for FSM.  However,
school census data shows that overall the introduction of UIFSM has not
adversely affected infant registration rates. 

As mentioned above, the current eligibility criteria for free school meals
requires the parent (or pupil) to be both in receipt of a specified
benefit and to make a request for the meal to be provided free of charge.
To support this, the Department for Education provides an electronic
Eligibility Checking System (ECS), which allows local authorities to
quickly check data held by DWP, the Home Office and HMRC in order to
establish FSM eligibility.  The Department has also provided a model
registration form and accompanying guidance which schools can use as part
of their enrolment process.

We want to make it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities
to determine eligibility for FSM, and the Department is looking at what
can be done in the longer term to make the FSM registration processes even
more efficient.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2017-0029270. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our
customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your
comments via our website at: [2]http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/YBK1O/

Yours sincerely

Joanna Foxton 

Web: [3]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [4]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [5]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

References

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1. https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
2. http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/YBK1O/
3. https://www.education.gov.uk/
4. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
5. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

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