Online Free School Meals: more for children, more for schools

Enter SDA and “Online Free School Meals” (we call it OFSM)

OFSM provides a simple online form for a parent or carer to fill out then automates the entire process by which an application can be made and a decision notified. Instead of taking days or weeks it takes minutes or even seconds. The children get their free meals - and often other benefits like uniform grants - and schools and academies get their Pupil Premium.

It really is that simple

OFSM now helps more than 70,000 children get their due. Over 1,000 schools in some of the largest local authorities in the country rely on the system to track their eligibility and the evidence is clear: it really works. Lower overheads, extra Pupil Premium, increased take-up, happier parents and healthier children all converge on a win/win situation for all concerned.

In short SDA's innovative thinking and clever technology have combined to make a real difference to children and their schools

Benefits of Online Free School Meals (OFSM)

For Children

  • Speeds up access to free school meals
  • Removes stigma associated with free school meal application.

For Parents/Carers

  • Offers a faster, simpler, easier and more convenient application process
  • Delivers speedier notification of benefit entitlement
  • Removes the need for paper proof of benefit
  • Enables applications to be made in privacy via mobile phone, tablet, PC, internet-enabled TV or console
  • Reduces application errors through computer assisted form validation
  • Removes the need for reapplication whilst eligibility continues
  • Removes stigma as face-to-face meetings no longer needed for application
  • Saves time and money

For Schools

  • Provides up-to-date information about which children can be offered free meals
  • Reduces administrative tasks such as checking and faxing of paper evidence
  • Reduces costs associated with administration and incorrect meal provision
  • Reduces office storage space required for paper documents
  • Increases Pupil Premium income

For Local Authorities

  • Provides up-to-date information about which parents/carers are eligible
  • Lowers costs through reduced requirement for paper forms, checking, error corrections, letters, postage and storage of paper documents
  • Reduces avoidable contact
  • Streamlines the renewal service
  • Reduces debt incurred by provision of free meals when parent/carer ceases to be eligible
  • Encourages parents/carers to use other online services offered by the authority
  • Increases parent/carer satisfaction with authority services