Howie P on 09 February 2021
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Q. Do your children normally receive means-tested Free School Meals?
Q. Have you received any support with food for your children since schools have been closed? And if you have, what was the support like?
We have no FSM support, this causes problems as we are a low income family, I am a single parent and self employed with a super precarious and changeable income but in receipt of WTC automatically means we don't qualify. It's been like this for years. In school this means that my children are not flagged up as struggling as many schools use FSM as a measure of family circumstances. It has caused problems for us when I have needed to let school know that we couldn't afford some things, like a trip, technology, transport etc. It's almost like they think that I am making it up. A lack of understanding of different income related benefits and issues such as rising in work poverty means that schools are not good at identifying where support is needed without the FSM label. If I changed over to UC we would then be entitled but the thought of going 5 weeks with no money and the possibility of lower financial support overall is so frightening no one will do that willingly.
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