Online Free School Meals (OFSM) was a transformational programme supported by the Department for Education (DfE) in England. The full process is documented by Strickley. Whilst the use of the system can be judged an overwhelming success, most Local Authorities (LAs) have stopped short of the full web-based system in which parents can apply directly via an online form as a result of the perception of negligible cost benefits created by a lack of technical expertise, scarce resources and server and development costs. The paper describes how these issues were overcome by developing a generic cloud-based solution. The paper looks at the general structure of the solution and examines the experiences of three types of user: an academy consortium, a single school and a large LA to illustrate adoption, implementation, usage and benefits. It concludes that a cloud-based system is cost effective by removing much administration and as a result of lowering the stigma of applying can result in an increase in applications. This has resulted in financial advantages for schools and LAs.
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- Online Free School Meals as a Cloud-Based Solution: Three Case Studies of Its Use in England
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