To All Head Teachers in Wales,
I would like to thank you for the support you have provided your learners and wider community during the pandemic. The importance of schools to support our children, and indeed wider society, has been clearly highlighted during the past two years.
The pandemic has been difficult for us all, but for our most disadvantaged families, it has increased worries and uncertainties. This can at time be exacerbated by costs incurred in sending children and young people to schools, a situation some families may try to hide because of the stigma associated with poverty.
We have well established statutory guidance in place in Wales that requires schools to consider the impact of any costs set by the school and the impact they will have on families’ finances.
To support you in supporting your community we’ve put together a fact sheet of useful guidance and information that can be used to support parents and learners, including signposting to wider financial assistance that may be available to families via national initiatives as well as any discretionary programme your school may have in place.
We will support you by running a national campaign on social media to raise awareness of parent’s eligibility for free school meals. This will start in December and run through to mid-January, whilst our social media channels will encourage take up from this week onwards. We’ll share resources with you to share on your own social media channels.
You may also be aware of the recent announcement to extend Free School Meals to all primary school pupils. We will provide updates in future.
Finally, it is completely unacceptable that teachers are being targeted with abuse on social media. We have asked Tik Tok to remove any instances of inappropriate or offensive content immediately.
We will also continue to work with the UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) and the UK Safer Internet Centre to ensure a co-ordinated approach across the UK We advise any staff who have been affected to report any instances directly to TikTok and contact the Professional Online Safety Helpline (POSH), who support staff with escalating individual cases.
I want to thank you again as leaders for all you are doing.
Director of Education and Welsh Language
Education and Public Services
Cost of the School Day – fact sheet
No child should go hungry. Local authorities and schools should work in
partnership with families experiencing difficulties with payment of school
meals to find a solution to ensure no child goes without a meal at lunchtime.
Healthy eating in maintained schools: guidance for education providers |
There should be a system in place where parents are reminded in a timely
fashion of what the balance is on their child’s account, so that parents are
prompted to take action.
In the case of non-payment make every effort to contact the parent to find a
If you are aware of vulnerable families that are struggling with school meal
debt, let the local authority catering team know.
If parents are struggling with school meal debt, they should contact the local
authority catering team, to discuss setting up a payment plan.
Local authorities and schools that charge for food or drink provided in schools
can choose to implement a variable pricing structure (‘flexible charging’). It is
a matter for local authorities and schools to determine whether or not to use
this power. https://gov.wales/charging-food-and-drink-maintained-schoolsguidance-education-providers
Through flexible charging local authorities and governing bodies could charge
less for school meals provided to children of families on low incomes who are
not eligible for free school meals.
Children in Wales resources
When taking decisions that have a financial impact on families, Children in
Wales have developed a suite of guides that can help you ‘Price of
Pupil Poverty Guides – Taking a Whole School Approach to improve the
wellbeing of children from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds’.
The guides were developed to help schools and educators in Wales to
consider the impact of poverty on the everyday school experience of pupils
from low income and disadvantaged families and addresses key areas that
impacts pupils the most.
Taking a whole school approach, the Guides identify low and no cost
solutions in respect of:
School Uniforms and Clothing
Food and hunger
Participation in the life of the school
Home – School Relations
Children in Wales are also currently working with a growing number of
schools across Wales to make a real difference for their pupils by supporting
school leaders and teaching staff to implement these guides.
There is an opportunity for schools to sign up to receive this support; to
access key resources, free training, guidance and ways to implement the
guides in their schools and to take action to ensure that the costs of the
school day is not a barrier to pupils learning and well-being. If you would like
to be involved, receive further information or would like training on the guides
please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The guides can be used in line with funding secured through the PDG
The guides can be accessed on the Welsh Government’s Education Hwb
website or The Children In Wales website – Children in Wales | Price of Pupil
School Uniform guidance
We want to ensure that school uniforms are affordable so that no family feels
unable to apply for admission or to attend a particular school.
The statutory guidance for school governing bodies on school uniform and
appearance policies is statutory and as such governing bodies and head
teachers must have regard to it when formulating and revising their school
The guidance provides clear and useful support for governing bodies to make
decisions on school uniform policies in respect of access, affordability and
The guidance lists a number of areas governing bodies should consider to
keep down the cost of school uniform, including the requirement of logoed
The Welsh Government understands that requiring school logos on polo
shirts, jumpers, blazers and PE kit, obtainable from specialist suppliers can be
costly and advises that schools should limit these items.
Governing bodies should regularly review single supplier arrangements and
should seek to ensure items are affordable.
Financial assistance and support
The Welsh Government has a longstanding commitment to supporting
information and advice services so we can feel confident some of the most
vulnerable people in our society have access to the free and impartial advice
that they need to resolve problems with their housing, welfare benefits,
employment and managing their financial commitments.
The Welsh Government has introduced initiatives set out below to ensure that the
people, who need it most, continue to get the help and advice they require.
If, once having considered the guidance above, it remains necessary to ask families
to contribute, you can signpost them to the information below.
The attached leaflet summaries the financial assistance that might be available to
help families. The leaflet includes advice on:
Loss of income
UK Government support
Health & Well-being
Benefits Support ENGLISH.pdf
‘Claim what’s yours’ – Take-up Campaign
We know that there are thousands of people in Wales who are not yet claiming the
welfare benefits that they are entitled to. The Welsh Government has launched a
take-up campaign ‘Claim What’s Yours’.
Advicelink Cymru offers free and confidential advice on a range of subjects such as:
We are directing people to a designated campaign page
www.gov.wales/claimwhatsyours where we encourage them to call Advicelink
Cymru’s helpline – 0808 250 5700
Financial help awareness raising raining for frontline workers
Dangos is a Welsh Government funded initiative to provide free online information
sessions for front-line workers to raise awareness and knowledge about the financial
help that is available to the people they support. There are still some sessions being
delivered until the end of December. For more information, please click here