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Free School Meals

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils were known to be eligible for free school meals but were not in receipt of free school meals over the last 10 years. (131798)

[holding answer 17 April 2007]: Information on pupils eligible for free school meals is collected at pupil level via the school census. Pupils should only be recorded as eligible if a claim for free school meals has been made for them or on their behalf by parents and their eligibility has been confirmed by the relevant authority or by provision of necessary documents to the school or local authority.

It is not known how many pupils could be eligible but are not submitting a claim.

The following table shows the number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals; and the number of pupils who took a free school meal on the day of the census.

Maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools1: school meal arrangements—as at January 2006, England

Maintained nursery and primary schools

Maintained secondary schools

Number on roll2

4,187,630

3,309,720

Number of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

670,340

448,680

Percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals

16.0

13.6

Number of pupils who took a free school meal on the day of the Census

556,180

328,750

Percentage of pupils who took a free school meal on the day of the Census

13.3

9.9

1 Includes middle schools as deemed.

2 Includes pupils with sole and dual main registration. Includes boarding pupils.

Note:

Pupil numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Source:

School Census