Universal Infant Free Schools Meals
From September 2014, schools must offer a free lunch to every child in reception classes, year 1 and year 2. This is a legal duty placed on schools by the Children and Families Bill. This applies to all state-funded schools in England, including academies,
free schools, PRUs and alternative provision.
The DfE has just announced that it is making available a further £20m of capital funding nationally, to support schools in the following circumstances in the following priority order:
i. Require capital funding in order to provide hot meals, or in order to continue providing hot meals.
• As a minimum to be assessed against this criterion, local authorities will need to confirm that schools are not currently able to offer a hot meal option to infant pupils, or that schools have put a hot meal solution in place which is not viable in the
• Bids may include funding for capital works outside the school (for example, expansion of a kitchen at a nearby school), if this is the best way to provide a hot meal solution.
ii. Are currently delivering UIFSM in a way that has a significant adverse impact on other areas of school life.
As a minimum to be assessed under this criterion, local authorities will need to show that one or both of the following applies:
• There is an adverse impact on the delivery of areas of the school curriculum.
• There is an adverse impact on provision of meals to other groups of pupils.
iii. Are bringing in 250 meals or more per day (for pupils of all ages) and present strong evidence that the proposed solution will improve the quality of food/increase take up.
• Under this criterion, local authorities will need to include evidence of how the proposed solution will increase take up of meals against current levels.
These criteria, and the application process are further explained in the DfE’s guidance
The timetable for submitting bids is 20th November. The Authority is planning to submit bids for specific schools that we are aware meet the DfE’s criteria. Officers will be contacting, and working with, these schools directly. The Dioceses have also been
asked to draw together any bids relating to VA schools.
If you believe that the circumstances at your school mean that you would be eligible to submit a bid according to the DfE’s criteria, and you can evidence this, you are requested to submit your details to
James.Martin@dioceseofleeds.org.uk (VA schools) or Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org (all other schools) by Friday 7 November at the latest.
If you have any queries on this, please contact Richard Hudson on 01274-434644.