Free school meals
If you are eligible to claim free school meals and your child is not attending school due to the lockdown, your child’s school will provide a food hamper or vouchers.
Please contact your child’s school if you have any queries.
If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old you could also get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods.
- Free school meals (Pupil Premium)
- Free travel for children under 16s
- Special educational needs travel assistance
- 16 to 19 Bursary Fund
- Colin Pond Trust Fund
Free school meals (Pupil Premium)
Free school meals are a statutory means-tested benefit which provides a child or young person with meals at school for free.
We want to make sure that everyone who is eligible is using this benefit. Some parents in the borough who are eligible to claim free school meals for their children are not claiming their entitlement.
Taking up free school meals has positive outcomes for everyone:
- children can benefit from a healthy free nutritious meal
- families entitled to free school meals could save more than £400 per child per year by claiming free school meals
- it’s anonymous for parents (because so much of the application process can be done online, a person's entitlement is mostly processed electronically)
- it’s anonymous for young people (thanks to our cashless catering system, claiming free school meals is anonymous – cards are swiped in the same way as a paid-for meal so nobody knows that it’s a free school meal)
- schools can benefit directly by receiving money from the government
Registering for free meals could also raise an extra £1,320 for your child’s primary school or £935 for your child’s secondary school, paid by the government, to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after school activities. Your school could benefit from hundreds of thousands of pounds.
If you have a live claim for free school meals this will automatically be carried over and awarded for your child from 1st September 2018. Any child moving from infants to junior or junior to secondary schools with a live award will also automatically be moved over to the new allocated school. New claims are not required for any child with a current live award for free school meals.
Letters will not be sent to either parents or schools; all schools will be notified and sent a full report detailing all live free school meals awards valid from September 2018 so they can update their systems.
Who can claim free school meals
If you are on a low income or receive Child Benefit and any of these benefits, you could claim free school meals for your child:
- Child Tax credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (earnings after tax and not including any benefits you get)
You may qualify for free school meals for your child if:
- you are an asylum seeker
- you live outside Barking and Dagenham but meet the previous criteria and your child is attending a school in the borough
- your only or main income is one of the benefits listed
Universal free school meals (Key Stage 1)
Your child will still be able to get free school meals under the current universal free school meals policy if they’re in:
- reception class
- year 1
- year 2
To ensure your child’s school receives the additional funding for Pupil Premium, complete the new application form available at your child's school reception.
Apply for Pupil Premium registration (free school meals)
Make sure you have your National Insurance and Child Benefit number to hand when applying for free school meals.
All schools have been asked to treat the application and award of free school meals sensitively.
Pupil Premium registration (free school meals)
All children who are in Key Stage 1 (Reception, Year 1 and 2) at a state-funded school are offered a free healthy school lunch.
Children in other school years will be offered a free school meal if their parent or guardian is receiving any welfare benefits or has a low household income.
Registering your child enables your child’s school to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after-school activities.
Registering for Pupil Premium
The best way to contact us and apply for Pupil Premium is to use our registration form below.
If you've made a report previously you can check the progress of your report
Free travel for children under 16s
All children under the age of 16 can travel for free on London buses and trams. Pupils must apply for a travel photo card before their 16th birthday.
Children who are 14 or 15 can travel free with a Child Oyster photo card. Children who look under the age of 14 can travel free on London’s buses and trams without a photo card.
Application forms for a child Oyster photo card are available at all Post Offices in Greater London and areas just beyond the boundary that are served by the London bus network, or you can apply online.
Special educational needs travel assistance
The majority of pupils and students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) do not need and do not receive travel assistance. However, there are some pupils and students with severe learning difficulties, physical and medical needs who may need travel assistance; this can assist parents in getting pupils to school.
Eligibility for travel assistance depends on your child’s individual needs, age and ability. Where possible, children and young people with SEND will be encouraged and supported to travel independently.
There are 4 offers of travel we provide, and they are all based on an assessment of need and eligibility:
This allows you to use your own vehicle to take your child to and from school, this is calculated in distance from your home address to school, we only pay while the child is in the vehicle.
This offers flexibility for you to make your own arrangements that suit your family’s needs, this can be used for you to pay someone to take your child to school, or if there are other siblings this can be used to pay for breakfast/after school clubs so you can take the eligible child to school yourself.
Independent travel training
Travel Trainers could work with your child for a maximum of 12 weeks (part time so your child does not miss any school), to support road safety, walking to school or using buses. Sometimes trainers can support a particular route for example from home to school or home to grandparents; or the training could build over a number of years so that your child could eventually plan routes to new destination for example a youth club or to a friend’s house. The training is personalised to your child and their needs. This is offered to all children from year 7 and above.
This is offered to children where their needs are complex and may require more support. If your child is offered a taxi/minibus, then we do have collection points for most and these are within a safe walking distance from your home address. If your child’s school/provision changes you may be required to go to an allocated collection point.
If your circumstances change (move Address or School) – you must complete a new application as soon as possible this will help, make the transition smoother for your child. The new application is assessed as a new application and can take up to 4 weeks to process.
Independent travel training
Our independent travel training service supports young people with special educational needs and disabilities to travel independently to and from their place of education. Our travel trainers help young people gain the confidence and skills they need to make their journeys safely and independently.
Suitability for independent travel training will be considered as part of the travel assistance application process. In addition to referrals through the council, if individuals have personal budgets or are self-funding, they can purchase travel training or travel support.
If you require assistance completing the form, contact:
The Heathway children’s centre
020 8227 5500
If you have questions about your child’s journey to school and whether they qualify for assistance to travel to school, contact your local children’s centre, or our Transport Commissioning Team.
Transport Commissioning Team
Town Hall, Barking IG11 7LU
Local taxi and transport services
All the services can accommodate passenger assistants.
|Company name||Contact details||Vehicles available||Opening|
|Barking and Dagenham |
|020 8227 2445||Accessible vehicles, minibuses||6am to 6pm|
|LB Redbridge Passenger Transport||020 8708 5303||Accessible vehicles minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars||6am to 6pm|
|Clayhall Executive Cars||020 8550 6767||MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars||24 hours|
|A2B Contract Cars||01279 211694||MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars||24 hours|
|Dilshan Transport Group||020 8599 7090||Accessible vehicles, minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars||6am to 6pm|
|Fox Transport||020 8986 6161||Accessible vehicles, minibuses||6am to 6pm|
|Highway Express||01708 744000||Accessible vehicles, minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars||24 hours|
|Olympic South (HATS)||020 3693 6962||Accessible vehicles, minibuses, MPV (7 seat vehicles), saloon cars||7am to 6pm|
|Allfor Care Services Ltd||0208 930 3087||Accessible vehicles, minibuses||24 hours|
Independent Living Agency
Independent Living Agency website
Dial a ride website
Travel assistance policies
See below for the:
- Home to school travel assistance policy
- Post-16 travel arrangements policy 2020-21
Qualifying for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund
If you're between 16 and 19, you may qualify for weekly payments to attend school or college. To receive a bursary, you must regularly attend school or college and meet one of these criteria:
- be in receipt of free school meals
- be in care
- be a care leaver
- be receiving income support
- be disabled and receiving both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Allowance
Payments will only be authorised if you follow these conditions:
- attend all lessons on time
- all work must be completed as requested by the teaching staff
- good behaviour, attitude and effort at all times
For a school bursary, contact your school directly and ask about the 16 to 19 Bursary.
Bursary Fund application
To apply for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, fill in the following application form and return it to the school you are attending.
Bursary application form (DOC, 48 KB)
Barking and Dagenham College has more information about the bursary.
If your course is directly career-related (for example, it's not GCSEs or A levels), you may be eligible to apply for a bursary from the Colin Pond Trust Fund.
Colin Pond Trust Fund
Extra financial help for students
Anyone over the age of 16, who is considering taking a further or higher education course but needs extra financial help, can apply for a bursary from the Colin Pond Trust Fund.
Colin Pond was a councillor in Barking and Dagenham who had a lifelong interest in education. He was a firm believer in the European Union and developed strong links with Witten in Germany. He left a sum of money to help young people benefit from an extended education.
To be eligible, applicants must be a resident of Barking and Dagenham (or attend school/college in the borough) or Witten, and be aged 16 or over. The bursary must be used to part-finance a qualification for a career, but not GCSEs. AS/A levels, GNVQs or similar qualifications.
Grants will not be given to fund work experience or business venture projects, or to fund courses where qualifications are unconnected to a career.
Contact us for an application form or further information by emailing email@example.com