'A cut disguised as kindness’ – concerns over free school meal reforms

Despite Department for Education claims, campaigners fear that thousands of families will lose out on free school meals under planned Universal Credit reforms. Pete Henshaw reports

Serious concerns have been raised that planned government reforms to free school meal (FSM) entitlement under Universal Credit will mean thousands of families living in poverty will lose out.

The Department for Education (DfE) claims that its proposals will protect any pupils who would otherwise lose entitlement to FSMs under Universal Credit.

Furthermore, it claims that up to 50,000 more young people should be eligible for FSMs once Universal Credit is fully rolled out.

However, in recent weeks both the Children’s Society and the GMB union have raised serious concerns about the potential impact of the reforms.

A DfE consultation over the plans closed last week and in its formal response, the GMB, which represents school catering and lunchtime supervision staff, has cast doubt on the claim that more pupils will be entitled to FSMs than under the current system.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here