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Free School Meals/Funding


Free school meals are available to:  

All infant pupils (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) – known as universal free school meals 

Pupils who meet the free school meals eligibility criteria – known as benefits-related free school meals 


Eligibility criteria

Families who receive the following are eligible for free school meals: 

  • Income Support 

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 

  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 

  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit 

  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190) 

  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit 

  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get) 

Children in households with no recourse to public funds 

If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, they will automatically be entitled to universal infant free school meals. However, if you do meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria, then it is advised you apply to receive additional benefits. 


So much more than a lunch… 

If you do meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria, then not only will your child gain a free meal, but they will also gain the following additional benefits: 

Holiday and food (HAF) programme is for children aged 4 to 16 in reception to year 11 in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. HAF offers eligible pupils access to activities and at least one healthy meal is provided during each session. The activities take place during the Easter, summer, and Christmas school holidays. 

Pupil premiumis extra funding paid directly to schools for each pupil who is eligible for free school meals. It can help to fund valuable teaching and learning support to improve pupil’s education. 


Did you know… 

  • Sandwiches and cold food options are usually available, as well as hot food. Check with your school to see what they provide. 
  • Even if your child doesn’t want to take the meals, making a claim will mean your child will get access to the holiday activities and food (HAF) programme and their school will get extra funding to support your child’s education.  
  • If your child attends a local authority maintained nursery and is receiving education either side of the lunch period, they might be eligible for free school meals. 
  • 16 – 18 year olds in education can get free school meals. If they are attending a college, you can apply directly to the college. 
  • Children of parents and carers who work might still be entitled to free school meals, dependant on income. 
  • Free school meal eligibility has been permanently extended to children in households with no recourse to public funds, subject to maximum income thresholds. 
  • Benefits will not stop or be reduced if you apply for free school meals. 
  • Free school meals applications should be submitted to the local authority your child’s school is in, even if you live in another local authority. 

Once the application is successful, your child will continue to receive free school meals unless parent or carer income changes. 


Need help with your application? 

If you have any questions or need support with applying for free school meals, please contact the team by emailing or calling 01926 359189.