The Revenues and Benefits team speak to Calderdale residents every day and assist people to claim housing and council tax benefits. Residents who claim these benefits may not realise that they are also entitled to claim free school meals for any children in their households.
Why we needed a change
As well as helping our residents, schools receive a payment called the Pupil Premium for any children who are eligible for free school meals. This extra income is important to schools and allows them to offer extra support to their pupils where necessary.
Working with colleagues in the Children and Young People’s team, the Revenues and Benefits team identified 600 families who had children that would be entitled to free school meals and weren’t claiming it. They completed the application forms and sent them to the families asking them to simply sign and return the application. Rather than depend on people opting into this benefit, they decided that it should be an opt-out choice: if the forms were not returned the children would receive free school meals anyway. Only six families decided to opt out.
The difference it made to the Council
The Council has made sure that this group of local residents are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to.
Local schools now receive the pupil premium that they were missing out on before.
The difference it made to local people
Local children are receiving a mid-day meal which takes some of the pressure off their families. Well-fed children are able to learn more effectively. Calderdale families are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to.
For more information, see Free school meals.