At Lower Farm, we work closely with our caterer, Educaterers, to provide our children with a healthy, delicious and freshly prepared meal each day. The food children eat is critically important to their health and development and Educaterers are committed to encouraging healthy and balanced eating by providing and promoting healthier choices. We offer a choice of three hot meals per day (including a vegetarian option) and a well-stocked salad bar.
Our school meal menu works on a three week rotation. Please use the ParentPay App to book your menu choices for the weeks ahead.
We also offer special menus through the year to tie in with festivals and celebrations. If your child usually has a packed lunch but you would like them to have a school dinner on the theme day, please inform the office so they can book the meal for you.
Meeting Special Dietary Requirements
Some of our pupils may require special diets (due to allergies or special educational needs) and we will work closely with Educaterers to do our best to meet these. If your child has a food allergy or needs a special diet, please speak to the office so we can alert the dining hall supervisors and our catering team.
Paying for School Dinners
School meals are free for children in Reception, year 1 and year 2 as part of the Government’s Universal Free School Meal for Infants initiative. Pupils in year 3 to year 6 pay £2.41 per day. We ask that parents pay for all meals in advance (weekly, monthly, termly or yearly) using our online ParentPay facility. Access to ParentPay requires a username and password, details of which are sent out by the office. If you need some help to access the service, please pop in to see the office team. They will be happy to sit down with you to go through everything. If you think you are entitled to free school meals, please see below:
Free School Meals
Children in Reception, year 1 and year 2 are all entitled to a free school meal each day funded by the government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme, irrespective of the family income.
Children in years 3-6 are only eligible to receive free school meals (FSM) if their parents are in receipt of certain benefits:
- 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
- Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- 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 (after tax and not including any benefits you get) at the time of your application. If your income goes above the threshold in the future, but you remain on Universal Credit, your child will remain eligible. If you applied before 1 April 2018 there was no household income threshold for Universal Credit claimant
Why apply for free school meals?
The number of children who qualify for free school meals affects our school funding so we still ask all parents for permission for us to check their free school meal status, even if they are currently receiving free meals under the government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme. At present, the school receives pupil premium funding of £1345 per year for any children who are entitled to free school meals which we use to fund additional staff, resources and important family support services.
How to Apply
We have tried to make the free school meal application process (and termly re-checks) as easy as possible for parents. At Lower Farm, we ask for your details (date of birth, national insurance number and surname) as part of our admission process. By providing this information, you are consenting to us running termly checks to see if you are eligible for free school meals.
Please contact the school office if you require help applying for free school meals.
You will not be allowed to accrue arrears. If at any time your account does fall into arrears, meals will be suspended until payment is made.
Whilst we feel that all children benefit from a freshly cooked meal at lunchtime we understand that some parents still prefer to send in a packed lunch, especially if their child is a particularly picky eater. If this is the case we ask that you provide a healthy lunch which includes a balanced variety of food groups. Sweets and fizzy drinks are not allowed. As we have a number of children with severe nut allergies, we ask parents and carers not to include nuts or nut products in children’s packed lunches. This also applies to packed lunches for educational visits. Please note that food brought in from home cannot be heated in school.
We are a healthy eating school and therefore request that children do not bring the following into school:-
- Nuts (including peanut butter)
- Fizzy drinks