Schools in Lincolnshire are missing out on £2.5million to spend in classrooms because thousands of parents fail to claim free dinners for their children.
It also means low-income families are wasting their own much needed cash when it could be spent on other household essentials.
Parents too proud to claim – and those who don’t know they can – are denying their local school as much as £623 in “pupil premium” for every single one of the estimated 4,000 Lincolnshire children currently missing out.
That cash could be spent in the classroom, on things like one-to-one tuition, giving children a better start in life.
County council bosses and school leaders are urging parents to claim now and insist there is no stigma attached to children who have free meals as they are treated no differently to those who pay.
From April the pupil premium paid to schools for children eating free dinners will rise to £900, which means Lincolnshire schools could miss out on as much as £3.6million.
County councillor Patricia Bradwell, executive member for children’s services, said: “We want more parents to come forward and claim for what they are entitled to – free, nutritious school meals for their children which will help towards a healthy, balanced diet.”
Parents may be able to claim if they receive benefits such as income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, the guarantee element of state pension credit or child tax credit (household income below £16,190 and no working tax credit).
Apply online at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/FSMapply