Mums and dads are being urged not to fork out for school meals next term – when they might well qualify for free daily lunches.
The warning has come from Derbyshire County Council, which says there is no need for families to feel ashamed about applying for the benefit, worth £400 a year.
And schools get a bonus too – youngsters qualifying for free meals automatically attract extra funding of £900 a year under the Pupil Premium scheme.
Schools are also careful to keep the information confidential – only senior teachers and catering staff will know.
Coun Jim Coyle said: “The cost of bringing up a child has risen by four per cent over the last year, while average earnings rose by just 1.5 per cent.
“Families need all the help they can get. That’s why we’re urging them to get the free school meals they are entitled to.”