'If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.' - Charles Darwin
Many families experiencing financial hardship might not be receiving benefits such as income support or free school meals. A crisis can hit any family and anyone could experience a short period where they really need help.
Support from school
If you are claiming Universal Credit and have not signed up for Free School Meals please do so. Entitlement to free school meals brings in additional funding and access to much more than the free meal.
Please see below for more information including a one-off uniform grant for children new to school in receipt of pupil premium for free school meals.
Free School Meals are different from the universal daily fruit and free school meals provided for every child in Reception through to the end of year 2. Every child in receipt of Free School Meals due to low income brings in additional funding (the Pupil Premium) to school which we use to go some way to limiting the gap in educational opportunities for poor children in our community. The educational grant continues for six years after children cease to be entitled to the meal, recognising that families can often be in an out of work and often on low pay.
We will provide a one-off uniform grant to all children joining the school who are in receipt of free school meals. This is a one-off payment funded through the Pupil Premium. There is also financial support for charged-for activities in school like clubs, visitors, trips and music lessons.
To apply for free school meals complete the online application our Local Authority at Cheshire West and Chester Council.
School lunch accounts for children who don't receive a free school meal
To support families whose children don't receive a free school meal, we ensure families are alerted when their account gets low and goes below £0. Once a debt goes over £10, we inform families that we will no longer serve a routine lunchtime meal and request a meeting taking place in school if they are experiencing hardship. This prevents folk getting into unmanageable debt and we can explore what people might be entitled to or if we can otherwise help. We would never let a child go hungry but would first contact the family and request a packed lunch be sent in.
charged for activities in school
The overarching principle in school is that no child misses out on something they want to learn and experience because of economic hardship. Our policy for Charging, Remission and Letting and Application for a Bursary to Support an Educational Activity provide further information.
Bursaries can cover all or part of an educational activity. They are means tested and if a child is not in receipt of free school meals we may occasionally ask for proof of income.
We charge for most clubs outside the school day as these are provided by external providers. External providers bring different expertise and enrich our curriculum offer beyond what our primary school teaching staff can provide. If your child is interested in developing their gifts and talents before or after school and cost is a problem, we encourage you to apply for a bursary.
Trips and visits
You can read more in Funding LOTC and enrichment. We will support any family in genuine hardship with funding fully or in part the costs of trips, visits and visitors to school. We ask that when a voluntary contribution is requested, you tick the box on the form to apply for a bursary and we will get a form to you. Our policy for Charging and Lettings (which contains an application form for a bursary) can be found in the Information / Policies and Procedures.
We can provide bursaries for children for activities in school where the school is permitted to make a charge. Examples include the bed and board on a residential visit, music lessons and optional before and after school clubs. Families requesting a bursary are asked to complete a short form, outlining basic information such as whether they are in receipt of benefits (e.g. free school meals, working tax credit) or on a low income.
See https://www.kingsmead.cheshire.sch.uk/information/policies-procedures for our policy for charging and letting and an application form for a bursary.
Families in receipt of a bursary will receive invoices from providers (e.g. Sports clubs, Music or French teachers) directly from the provider and should pass these f.a.o. the school business manager, headteacher or deputy headteacher to pass for payment promptly.
more extreme hardship
Very occasionally, families can find themselves in extreme hardship and fall through the safety net of our benefit system. We want to be useful as well as kind to everyone. We have a hardship fund which has been provided by the Church of England via St Wilfrid's Davenham. The fund is not infinite but funds may be available for unusual situations where other sources of support are not available. Please email or call the headteacher and arrange a confidential chat with Ms Stewart or Mrs Rutter-Brown as we may be able to help a little.
Get help in one place at https://cheshirewestdhp.teamnetsol.com/dhp/home
Phoneline for help in an emergency: 0300 123 7065
Support from your local council
It is a really challenging time for households throughout the Borough and families may be worried about the rising cost of energy bills, food, and transport. Families may want help accessing welfare rights, benefits and debt advice, support getting all the money they're entitled to, or simply want to know more about national support put in place. Whatever your money worries may be, the Council has put together some useful information to help which includes a wealth of information.
Visit: Cost of living support
Children in receipt of free school meals will be allocated lunch vouchers for the holiday periods up to February 2024. This is government funding with the vouchers being distributed by schools.
Telephone order and food home delivery from local small businesses
Online food delivery
Practical support for the vulnerable and isolated
Foodbanks and food hubs for those with little or no income
The website is updated regularly and includes information and services for across the borough.
Support from charities and the voluntary sector
Clients do not need to be in receipt of benefits, or for their children to be in receipt of the pupil premium. A crisis can hit anyone at any time, and we want to be there to help you support them, whether it be long term by signposting to other agencies, or for a one off need because something unexpected has happened. We would rather see people fed quickly and accessing help than waiting, with them not quite managing before hitting a crisis point.
Ms Stewart and Mrs Rutter-Brown are our foodbank referers:If you are need help, please contact us at email@example.com or call 01606 800170 and ask to speak to Ms Stewart or Mrs Rutter-Brown. https://midcheshire.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/how-to-get-help/
The Foodbank can offer help alongside the vouchers that we give out. As part of the covid hardship grant the Foodbank is are there to support the whole family in and out of term time. They can also guide families to the additional help they may also require.
The Foodbank update their Facebook page every Monday with what they are short of.