Funding boost for Calderdale schools as more pupils claim free school meals

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

Schools in Calderdale are benefitting from £685,000 of extra funding after the council secured a higher take-up of free school meals.

Calderdale Council found that some children eligible for school meals were not claiming them, meaning schools were missing out on extra funding available for their school.

Research by the Revenues and Benefits service, taking housing benefit and council tax reduction into account, identified an additional 586 pupils eligible for free meals.

For every pupil who receives free school meals, their school receives extra funding from central government, known as pupil premium - £1,300 for each pupil in reception year to year 6 and £935 for pupils in year 7 to year 11.

The pupil premium funding is spent in ways to directly benefit pupils, particularly children who are vulnerable and need more support.

This could be by employing additional staff to support pupils or providing financial support for educational visits or after school clubs.

Coun Marcus Thompson, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “I’m delighted with how successful this exercise has been.

“It’s great news that the benefits service has managed to identify so many families who were not claiming what they were entitled to.

“This will obviously benefit the families of those pupils who were previously paying for their school meals, but it’s also a huge boost to the schools they attend, as they have received over £600,000 worth of extra funding.” Coun Colin Raistrick, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, added: “By identifying so many more pupils who are eligible for free school meals, we have significantly increased our pupil premium funding, which will benefit schools around Calderdale.

“This will make a real difference to pupils, giving them extra help where needed and improving their learning opportunities.”