Mark Hendrick – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Mark Hendrick on 2016-01-20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will assess the potential merits of enabling or compelling local authorities to use housing and council tax benefit data to (a) identify children who are eligible for free school meals and the pupil premium and (b) enable parents and guardians of those children to claim free school meals for their children.

Mr Sam Gyimah

We want to ensure that as many children as possible who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) receive them. We have made it as simple as possible for schools and local authorities to check eligibility. We are aware that a number of local authorities have been successful in using housing benefit and council tax support claim data to identify children who may be eligible for, but are not currently claiming, FSM.

We are looking in more detail at the approaches that schools and local authorities have taken so far and we will set out the Government’s position on this issue shortly.