To think the threshold for fsm should be raised to 20K

(22 Posts)
ReallyTired Sat 08-Mar-14 22:27:03

The threshold for free school meals has been 16k for years. In fact I suspect it was 16K in the dark ages when I was at school (and the dinosaurs roamed!) I feel that the amount should be raised to reflect inflation since the threshold was set.

I have mixed feelings about fsm for all infant school children. I can see the advantages if it increases the uptake of fsm in a school where 40% of chidlren are entitled to fsm and there are virtually no rich kids. There is huge peer pressure at dd's school to have packed lunch. I know several children who are entitiled to a fsm who have a packed lunch because they want to sit with their friends. However I see no advantage in giving universal fsm in a school where hardly any children need them.

I feel this govemnment has forgotten that secondary and junior school children need food too.

likeneverbefore Sat 08-Mar-14 22:32:54

Don't know much about it, but I agree with you in principle.

I would rather the raised the threshold for FSM's so more low income famillies across the age ranges could have them than give them 2 of my DC (which will happen from September) when they aren't needed.

MojitoMomonga Sat 08-Mar-14 22:34:51

I doubt it would make much difference as most people on <20k would get working family tax credit and that means you can't get FSM. It'd be reasonable to raise it to 20k if it would make a difference.
I think people on WFTC should be able to get them depending on their income, not so much for the FSM but the help with school trips and so on.

noblegiraffe Sat 08-Mar-14 22:52:18

They probably won't raise it because they'd then have to fork more out for Pupil Premium. It's not just about the dinners.

Joules68 Sat 08-Mar-14 23:02:50

Why would anyone want them? They are awful, and set to get worse

MojitoMomonga Sun 09-Mar-14 21:26:08

I think a lot of people who are entitled to them don't have the meal (mine didn't) but apply for them because of the pupil premium funding that goes with it.

The school keep badgering us to apply because they get funding for pupils who qualify, even if they don't stay for school lunch.
I get pissed off because my DCs have to have packed lunches because we can't bloody afford the dinner money, and we don't qualify for free meals because we get £20 working tax credit. If we decline to apply for the wtc (so would then presumably get fsm which would be worth £30 a week) they said they will stop the claim for the child tax credits too, and we already live on £1500 a month so we daren't sad
I get so ANGRY because if it wasn't for my lovely mother buying us the last week's shopping each month, before pay day, we would be reduced to starvation rations, and then the school have the damn cheek to bang on about applying. urghhhh it gets me irate so I shall stop before I rant too much and wee myself sighhhhhh

ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 09:40:03

"Why would anyone want them? They are awful, and set to get worse"

Some children don't have the luxury of being faddy about food. School lunches are hardly Michelin cuisine, but they are OK. A school meal meets the nutrictional needs of a growing child.

2whippetsnobed Mon 10-Mar-14 09:50:31

I do think the cut off is set too low. I think you have to be unemployed or claiming income support to qualify. There are lots of people working but on very low wages who would be really helped by changing the cut off rather than the government's new scheme.
It would help older children too.

Also someone up thread mentioned the peer pressure thing - at our school children can sit where they want at lunchtime which takes the pressure off I think.

Sparklymommy Mon 10-Mar-14 09:51:42

I actually agree with you op, but also feel that they need to be available to people on WFTC.

I am in the position that I pay for school meals for my children, four children that is currently £45 a week. From September I think two of my children will be eligible for fsm under the new proposals.

It's a difficult one because I can see arguments on both sides. But it does annoy me.

pizzachickenhotforyou Mon 10-Mar-14 09:56:12

Should be for all children.

Sadly just because some parents get 100k a month they don't bother to give their children decent food.

Impatientismymiddlename Mon 10-Mar-14 09:59:21

I think that free school meals should be available to all children or no children. Income alone is not an accurate indicator of family disposable income and not a good indicator of parents ability to afford school meals.

ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 10:02:37

"Sadly just because some parents get 100k a month they don't bother to give their children decent food."

Don't you think that is taking the nanny state a bit too far. I don't know many families on 100K, but I imagine that if they put crap in their child's lunch box then they won't be taking up the universal free school meals. The children will be eating crap because they are literally spoilt rotten.

Families on WFTC are in a nasty position as they are caught in the middle. They truely cannot afford the meals, but cannot afford to pay for a high quality lunch either.

jay55 Mon 10-Mar-14 10:04:27

As cost of living varies wildly across the country any threshold will be too low some places and arguably too high in others.

ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 10:04:54

It would be nice if all children could get fsm. Certainly there would be lots of social advantages. However I think the that a junior school child whose family is on a low income should get their free school meal before the chidlren of millionaires get free school meals.

There is a difference between what is "nice" and what is essential in times of auterity.

The criteria for FSM round here is that you are in receipt of Income Support or JSA.

Damnautocorrect Mon 10-Mar-14 10:08:19

Isn't 16k the magic number for savings on housing benefit as well?

ComposHat Mon 10-Mar-14 10:10:11

Why would anyone want them? They are awful, and set to get worse

Sighs.....

Do you really want need me to explain.

Okay

BECAUSE FOR A LOT OF KIDS ON FREE SCHOOL MEALS IT WILL BE THE ONLY PROPER MEAL THEY WILL GET THAT DAY.

When the choice is 'free school meal' or go without. I bet you would be first in the queue.

Do you not have any idea how some people live their lives in this country?

Impatientismymiddlename Mon 10-Mar-14 10:18:56

But the deciding factors on what is 'nice' and what is essential is not necessarily fair.
The family just over the threshold might be much worse off financially than many families under the threshold due to essential outgoings such as housing costs, travel to work costs and childcare. The system is not fair as it currently stands.
Personally I would be happy to see the price of school meals lowered but everybody having to pay that new lower cost. If school meals were £6 a week for everybody then the govt coffers wouldn't be hit and more families could afford a school meal.
Personally, I feel that people are responsible for feeding their own children, but school meals should be set an affordable price. It really makes me feel a it [hmmm] when people say that their children are going to go hungry during the school holidays because if they are on a low enough income to qualify for free school meals then they must get benefits and some of that money is for feeding the children.
Apologies if this comes across as wholly unsympathetic and I do understand that some families have had to cope with very drastic and unexpected changes in circumstances which have really impacted on family income but I do feel there are far too many families who haven't had any changes and have always relied on benefits and have gotten used to not needing to feed their children during the daytime as 'school' gives them a meal for free.

Nocomet Mon 10-Mar-14 10:36:01

I know our senior school would love the level for pupil premium to be raised.

Our disadvantaged DCs are not just those on free school meals, but also those in minimum wage manual jobs.

This is a very polarised rural area, rich commuters who's DCs do every club going and are expected to go to university. Vs the DCs of parents (and grandparents) who didn't do very well at school, who want the best for their DCs, but really struggle.

The manual farm work and local shop jobs have disappeared. You have no choice, but to run a car and rents are very high.

ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 13:18:44

I suppose that in an ideal world that there would be a sliding scale in how much subsidy a family got for free school meals. The problem with this is that means testing is more expensive than the benefit.

Nocomet Mon 10-Mar-14 13:45:33

Yes m, means testing is very expensive and the forms very complex.

Given a lot if rural farm work, gardening and jobs in our local pubs and cafes is seasonal and people also pick up delivery jobs and caring work that can be pretty short lived, it gets very complicated.

Ensuring WFT is sufficient to cover school meals and widening the pupil premium, so some part of it was not linked to individual DCs.

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