School census: Advice on FSM eligiblity for non statutory school aged pupils

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12 Dec 2019

In the last school census there were some queries from schools about if they should flag non-statutory school aged pupils as eligible for free school meals. The guidance from the DfE is as follows:

"The Education (School Lunches) (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Order 2003 ( describes an additional requirement for children who have not attained compulsory school age but receive education in a maintained setting. Such children must be registered pupils and be ‘receiving education both before and after the lunch period’ before being eligible for free school meals."

This would mean you should be flagging all FSM eligible pupils who attend with your setting both before and after your usual lunch period one day or more a week - including those below statutory school age (i.e. nursery pupils). This applies to primary and infant schools with nursery aged children, as well as maintained nurseries/children centres.

You should be recording this information in addition to any early years pupil premium funding you are receipt of for disadvantaged three and four year olds.

Please bear this in mind when completing your spring school census. Spring census day is Thursday 16 January 2020. The local authority ask that you submit your return on COLLECT by Friday 17 January 2020.

Further Information

DfE guidance on free school meals eligibility and early years pupil premium in school census can be found here: (GOV.UK)

Details about the local authority's free school meal eligiblity checking service for 2019/20 can be found here:
Free school meal eligibility checking 2019/20 (EGfL)

Guidance about the school census (EGfL)

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Last updated: 17 Dec 2019

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