With the kids going back to school in Wales soon, here’s our guide to what to do about lunch.
We’re going to break this little guide down into 2 main sections. One looks at applying for free school meals (FSM), while the other looks at packed lunch options. Of course there is always the option to pay for school meals.
Free school meals
Free school meals are available to your child or children if you receive certain support payments. The Welsh Government has produced this FAQs download on free school meals. You will need to apply to your school or local council, as it is not automatically done. Gov.UK has a postcode search that signposts you to free school meals information for your area. Free school meals extends to sixth form but not to further education.
At the other end of the school age, some primary schools offer free breakfasts as part of the Free Breakfasts in Primary School scheme. Ask if your local primary school is part of the scheme. You also have the right to ask them to join the scheme. And don’t forget the milk! Schools participating in the school milk scheme can offer free milk to Foundation Phase children. They can also offer subsidised milk to learners in Key Stage 2.
As a quick aside, if you do qualify for free school meals, you may also be eligible for a school uniform grant too. You could get up to £105 to help with costs.
Taking a packed lunch
Ever since Jamie Oliver waged his war on turkey twizzlers, the lunch served in schools has improved dramatically. Still if you’re on a budget or want more control of what your children are eating, then packed lunches are the way to go.
Netmums has 7 top tips for the perfect school packed lunch, and BBC Good Food has a dedicated section called School Packed Lunch Inspiration, as well as lots of lunchbox recipes. Also have a look at Mumsnet’s packed lunch dos and don’ts, lots of top tips there!
If there are any other problems your family is having, then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.