What are the benefits of my child having a school meal?

  • Provides a balanced meal which improves concentration and learning in the afternoon.
  • Introduces your child to a wide range of foods
  • Children can sit down at a table together and enjoy a meal, whilst at the same time developing the social skills of eating together.
  • Saves parents valuable time, money and energy in preparing packed lunches. Many packed lunches are very high in fat, sugar and additives.

Packed Lunch Tips

Special Diets

Please contact Great Academy Ashton if you have any special dietary requirements. Medical diets can be provided. Please let us know if your child has been prescribed a medical diet. Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us so that we can help your child enjoy their lunch.

On 13th December 2014, the Food Information for Consumers Regulation 1169/2011 (EU FIC) changes the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is prepacked, sold loose or served out of home. From this date caterers must be able to answer any consumer queries regarding the 14 major food allergens that have been identified as issues for people living across Europe. 

Our Cashless Catering System

Our Cashless Catering System is purpose designed to meet the ever-evolving needs and demands of our catering provision. School gateway is a cashless solution and allows us to be able to provide students and staff with a faster, more efficient and more appealing meal service.

The Cashless System uses and algorithm-based scan, which reads between 50 and 130 points on the finger/thumb. It does not store a finger print in any way, shape or form and is of use only in the Cashless System. The solution is secure because the matching can only be done by the individual’s consent as the finger has to be presented to the device for matching. We do not hold images of fingerprints in our system.

Paying money is simple and easy!

You can now make payments online via the My Child at School App MCAS. Please see the document below which provides instructions on how to download the app and link to your child.

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Free School Meals

Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below.

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400(£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run-out – paid 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

I am currently claiming free school meals – what does this mean for me?

Most people won’t be affected by the new criteria. If you’re currently claiming free school meals, but don’t meet the new criteria, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end March 2023.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary.

Where can I get more information?

If you need any further information, please speak to a member of Great Academy Ashton staff. You can also visit the free school meal website:

If you think you may be entitled to free School Meals, please click on the link below:

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