The sections below summarise the Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility data collected by the Department for Education through their annual Spring Census on Pupil Characteristics in England.

The following link provides access to an interactive web map which gives summary data from the school census by sub-county geographical areas:

Interactive Map: Free School Meal Eligibility by Sub-county areas
Local FSM Dashboard (School Census Data)

Current: 31.9% of Pupils living in County Durham and attending schools in the County were eligible for FSM (Spring 2024).  Up from 23.9% in Spring 2020.

Data in this section is derived from postcode level, pupil data from the Autumn Census and covers only those pupils living in County Durham and attending schools in County Durham.  This section provides information on FSM eligibility by local areas (Ward, Area Action Partnership (AAP) and Family First Areas (FFA))

The following dashboard summarises these findings:

Key messages:

The Autumn extract contained approximately 74,300 records of which around 2,200 were living in areas outside of the county or could not be geographically located due to incorrect/unknown postcode data.  The following is based upon the remaining 72,100 pupils who live in the county and attend schools here.

  • Around 23,000 pupils were eligible for FSM in the county in the Spring 2024 Census, representing 31.9% of all registered pupils up from 23.9% (17,200 pupils) in the Spring 2020 Census,
  • The Peterlee East ward had the highest proportions of pupils eligible for FSM at 55.2%, up from 39% respectively, in the Spring 2020 Census.  Of the 63 wards, 29 had higher proportions than the county average (31.9%),
  • The Bishop Auckland and Shildon AAP had the highest proportion of pupils eligible for FSM at 40.2%, up from 30.6% in the Spring 2020 Census, followed by the 4 Together AAP with 39.8%, up from 30.6%.  Of the 14 AAPs, 6 had higher proportions than the county average,
  • The Easington Family First Area (FFA) had the highest proportion of pupils eligible for FSM at 42.7%, up from 33.2% in the Spring 2020 Census, followed by Peterlee FFA at 40.1%, up from 31.6% previously.  Of the 14 FFAs, 8 had higher proportions than the county average.

Summary (DfE Data)

Note: The source data for this indicator is incomplete, with data not available for all schools. The  percentage eligible has been calculated using the number of pupils on school rolls only for schools where data on the number of pupils eligible was available.

Key messages:

  • Between 2015 and 2023 the number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals increased to 30.6% rising to 22,700 eligible pupils, higher than the national figure of 23.8%,
  • Across the North East number pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals also increased to 30.4%.

Source: Department for Education – School Census

Links

Department for Education School Census: Source: Department for Education – School Census

Children in Poverty: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-201415-to-201819