Important: Free School Meal (FSM) Registration Guidance
There has been some confusion recently in regards to Free School Meals and the reports on Solero, so we wanted to clarify a couple of points:
Firstly, if a child does not re-apply at the end of Year 2 then they will NOT automatically be eligible for Free School Meals in Year 3. Infants do not automatically transfer from the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) register to the Free School Meal (FSM) register so parents will need to re-apply. This can be done from 1st of June onwards, via the HCC registration page found at https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/schools-and-education/at-school/free-school-meals/free-school-meals.aspx. Free School Meals eligibility rolls over from Reception to the end of Year 2, where an end date must then be entered (assuming that eligibility has not ceased before this date). A new application is needed by the start of Year 3 and this will then roll over until the child leaves school, again assuming that eligibility does not end before this time.
If a child appears on the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) list report on Solero and there is a ‘Yes’ in the additional funding column, a Free School Meal start date of the beginning of the academic year should be entered into SIMS. To make the process easier, we recommend that you also add an End Date of the end of the current academic year as well, as children will remain on the UIFSM list until the end of the year, regardless of whether eligibility changes before then, as the Education Benefits Team only re-check eligibility once at the end of the year. You can of course leave the End Date blank until such time as the child shows as ‘No’ under the additional funding column, or no longer shows on the report at all. Whichever method you choose to adopt, the child will need an End Date as of the end of their Year 2 academic year, as at that time they will move onto a different FSM register.
Secondly, in some circumstances children have been appearing on BOTH the Free School Meal (FSM) report and the Universal Infant Free School Meal (UIFSM) report on Solero. Similarly, Infant children may be appearing on the FSM report rather than the correct UIFSM report. The report a child appears on is dependent on the registration form that was completed by the parent (or the school on the parents’ behalf) when initially applying for FSM. Regardless of which one they appear on, if the reports indicates so, they are eligible for FSM. You can however contact the Education Benefits Team at Hertfordshire County Council on 0300 123 4048 to ensure your pupils are showing on the correct reports. You will need to give them the Solero Reference number for each pupil.
If in doubt about how to record FSM Eligibility in SIMS, please contact the ICT Service Desk and we will advise further.