Free school meals

Who gets free school meals?

All children in reception, year one or year two will be able to receive a free school meal.  However you must register your child for free school meals to ensure your child’s school receives extra funding.

If your child is in year three or above, to be eligible for free school meals the parent or carer must receive one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income (after tax and not including any benefits you get) must be less than £7,400 a year
  • Child Tax Credit with a taxable income of no more than £16,190 and not in receipt of Working Tax Credit
  • The Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.
  • Support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)

If you think you are entitled to free school meals it is very important that you apply for them even if your child eats a packed lunch.  This is because the amount of money a school receives from central government is dependent on the number of children entitled to free school meals.

Young people who get any of the above directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals. 

Working Tax Credit (WTC) special circumstances

If you are receiving Working Tax Credit you will not be entitled to free school meals unless you are still getting WTC because you:

  • have stopped work in the last four weeks; or
  • reduced your hours to less than 16 hours in the last four weeks

If this applies to you please contact the free school meals team as soon as possible for further advice.

If your child is eligible for and getting free school meals at any time before 31 March 2022, they’ll remain eligible until this date.


For more information please contact the free school meals team

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