More than 35,000 children living in poverty in the North East of England are not eligible for free school meals (FSM) under current rules.

The figure amounts to one in four children from the poorest families in the region, according to a new briefing report from poverty campaigners and children’s charities.

Furthermore, the report highlights that thousands more pupils who are eligible for FSM are not taking up their entitlement. And these students are not only missing out on FSMs, but their schools are also being deprived of the Pupil Premium funding that goes alongside FSM take-up.

The report also highlights a number of actions that schools can take to reduce FSM stigma, including rolling over unspent allowances from day-to-day and doing more to ensure FSM pupils are not identifiable to their peers.

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