To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Mum says she lost daughter's free school meals after working 90 minutes longer a day

Mum says she lost daughter's free school meals after working 90 minutes longer a day

She's says she is no better off as the extra cash she earns is spent on packed lunches

A mum says she’s no better off after working more hours as the extra cash she’s earned means she’s no longer entitled to free school meals.

Michaela Thomas, 30, is backing calls to allow all children to have free school dinners, after extending her working day by 90 minutes and discovering her 11-year-old daughter no longer qualifies for the free meals.

Michaela, somewhat ironically, works as a dinner lady in Redbridge, east London, and picked up the extra hours in September last year.

The increase to her working week means Michaela's wage went from around £700 a month to £1,050 - above the threshold for free school dinners.

Michaela told The Mirror that picking up more hours hasn’t helped her finances, because the extra cash she brings in goes on paying for packed lunches for her daughter.

She told the publication: “I should have just stuck with my hours as I'm paying the same amount anyway. I'm no better off at all if I'm honest.

The mum says the extra money she makes goes on packed lunches.

"When I actually got it [the extra pay] I thought, 'yes, this is going to be brilliant'. Now I've lost all my money on packed lunches."

The mum says the rising price of food and other bills has limited what she can buy for her family, while at work she’s seen children coming into the canteen who are hungry but have no money to buy food

“Over the past few years, the amount of free school meals that come through has gone up,” she said.

"With the economy we're in, we should be able to afford for them to have food.

"It ain't like it's a lot. It can be done."

Michaela said that when kids come to her who are a bit short she will make up the difference herself and then chase up the parents.

Michaela’s daughter no longer qualifies for free school meals.

She went on: "I'm a dinner lady. If a child comes up to my till and they've got 25p in their account... I physically cannot take that food away, I can't.”

The Department for Education says it has extended support ‘several times to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century’.

After Year 3, free school meals are only available to children whose parents receive certain benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit.

The rules are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - you can find out more here.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Parenting, Money