How to change the UFSM allowance

Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) allowance is applied automatically for schools during implementation or when new systems are introduced or old ones updated wherever possible.  Some systems need to be adjusted for specific school cases, regional differences, or for more advance meal solutions.

  This article will teach you...

How to amend the default UFSM allowance configuration and where you need to go to setup more advanced and 3rd party systems.


For information on what UFSM is and the default setup for schools by region, see the article Universal Free School Meals (UFSM)

Schools should check the default settings that have been applied to their site to ensure they are correct.  Any changes required can be made using the information below.

Changing the default UFSM setup

Basic meal solutions (DMM, Classroom Selection, Patterns, Bookings, etc.)

English and Scottish schools

It is not possible to change the allowance directly through the application.  For any changes you must contact ParentPay Support outlining the change you want to make. This might include adjusting the allowance amount, disabling it for your school completely, or adding in new year groups to your academic structure.

You will need to be a ParentPay manager or Group manager with overall access at the school to be able to authorize this request.


Changing the default UFSM value for your school will not change the fund provided by the government.  Any shortfall in the cost of the meal minus the allowance provided will need to be covered by the school.

Welsh schools

How to change the effective year groups

To change the year groups that receive the allowance

  1. Navigate to Attendance, Meals & Events > Settings.
  2. From the side menu, select UPFSM allowance.
  3. For each year that is to receive the allowance tick the Turn on UPFSM checkbox and enter the Start date as per the image above (this must be a date in the future).
  4. Select Save.


While Nursery year groups are enabled, pupils need to attend for the whole day to qualify for the allowance and need to be individually configured. This is covered in the section below.

How to enable a pupil to qualify for the nursery year group UPFSM allowance

Nursery pupils must be individually enabled to qualify for the nursery year group allowance. This is due to the Welsh requirement that they must attend for a full-day session to qualify. Each pupil is allocated a pattern that defines the days they attend their nursery for whole days.

To enable the allowance for each qualifying nursery pupil:

  1. Navigate to People > Pupils and Staff.
  2. Use the selection criteria to find the appropriate pupil.
  3. In the Nursery enrollment pattern section, tick the days that the pupil attends for the whole day.
  4. Select Save.

How to manage exceptions

Once UPFSM entitlement has been placed for a year group, you may find some pupils are not entitled or choose to opt out of the entitlement. 

To make changes to an individual child's entitlement:

  1. Navigate to People > Pupils and Staff.
  2. Use the selection criteria to find the appropriate pupil.
  3. Select Edit UPFSM entitlement.
  4.  Tick the Exclude from UPFSM checkbox.
  5. Select Save.


Advanced meal solutions (Meal Manager / Meal Selection)

All configuration is managed within the Meal Manager or Meal Selection application.

Full details on the setup and maintenance of these systems can be found in the article How do I setup UFSM in Meal Manager or Meal Selection?

Cashless till integrations systems

All configuration is managed by the till system.  Purchases are marked as free on that system and passed through to ParentPay with no charge for reporting purposes.
Any changes that are required will need to be made on the till system.

Please contact your cashless till provider for guidance on how this is set up or altered.


If your school use more than one solution, for instance within multisite or all through schools, you must make the appropriate changes to each solution.

UFSM troubleshooting

If you have questions about, or encounter a problem with the allowance being applied, an inappropriate allowance, missing year groups, or any other issue, please refer to our UFSM FAQ in the first instance.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful