Free school meals

Contact your school to apply for free school meals for your child.

Infant pupils

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state schools in England are eligible for free school meals. This includes infant pupils in maintained schools, free schools, academies, special schools and pupil referral units. 


Year 3 or older

You entitled to free school meals if you are in receipt of:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.
    Contribution Based Job Seeker's Allowance does not qualify for free school meals
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related). 
    Contribution Based E&SA does not qualify for free school meals.
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by HMRC, not in excess of £16,190.
    Families who get Working Tax Credit do not qualify to claim free school meals.
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.

Temporary free school meals

You can claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on: this is the payment received for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

To qualify for free school meals after the four week period expires you need to be in receipt of one of the other benefits listed above.

Pupil premium

If you get free school meals the school will receive an extra £1320 (Primary schools), or £935 (Secondary schools), of government funding even if your child does not want the meal. This will be used to help children from lower income families do their very best at school.

If your child gets free school meals you may be able to claim other forms of help ie home to school transport.

Changes to your benefits 

Checks are carried out on all current claims throughout the year. Please contact your school if your benefit changes or ends. It is important that you tell your school if your partner is now claiming the family's  benefit for free school meals as your school will need an form from them.


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