Holding answer received on 16 April 2018
Our new criteria for free school meals eligibility will increase the number of children eligible by around 50,000 children by 2022. Due to the generous protections we will provide, all children receiving free school meals at the point the threshold is introduced, and all those who gain eligibility during the rollout of Universal Credit, will continue to receive free school meals until the end of Universal Credit rollout. After this point, those children who were protected – should they still be in school – will continue to be protected until the end of their current phase of education. Our protection arrangements will also cover pupils in receipt of benefits-related free school meals in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, as well as those in Year 3 and above.