Apply for free school meals
Who can claim?
Free school meals are available to eligible pupils who attend school full-time. This includes:
- Younger children who attend nursery for full days
- Sixth form school pupils
Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Guarantee 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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- to 31 March 2019, Universal Credit – This was done as a temporary measure, pending the development of new eligibility criteria
- from 1 April 2019, Universal Credit - provided your household has an annualised net earned income (Net earned income is defined as household income after taxes and deductions. It does not include income from Universal Credit or other benefits) of no more than £7,400 ( as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
If your children receive Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance in their own right, they could also be able to receive free school meals.
For children/young people to be eligible to receive free school meals:
- you, as a parent, or your child, must receive the relevant benefit or support payment
- you should have submitted an application for free school meals to the local authority (or an application should have been submitted on your behalf)
- the application should have been approved by the local authority, or documents should have been seen by the local authority which strongly indicate your child is eligible.
Nursery – aged children
Nursery aged children who attend before and after lunch sessions at a local authority nursery school or nursery class may be eligible for free school meals.
How to claim
The quickest and easiest way is to apply online.
Due to a large increase in the number of forms that we are currently receiving, applications are taking longer to process currently.
Apply for free school meals
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You can also apply by post using a printable application form. These forms are available from your school.
You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your claim within 10 working days.
If you are eligible for free school meals, the school will be notified that your child can have free school meals. Schools will ensure that this information is treated with the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.
What if my circumstances change?
You must tell us if:
- You start work and come off benefits
- Your benefit changes
If you do not tell us of any changes to your benefit this may mean you have to pay for any meals provided whilst you were not eligible.
You must complete a new application form if:
Report a change in circumstances
- You change address
- You have another child starting school for the first time
Do I need to re-apply every year?
If you are already claiming free school meals for your child you do not need to re-apply every year.
Even if your child moves to another school in the borough, the new school will be advised of your entitlement as soon as admission to the new school has been accepted.
The School Essentials Grant (Replaces PDG Access Grant) 2023/2024
This grant provides £125 (except for year 7 which is £200) to buy school uniform, equipment, sports kit, and kit for activities outside of school for your child.
The scheme for the 2023/24 academic year will begin on 1 July 2023 and end on 31 May 2024.
This grant applies to all eligible pupils of compulsory year groups (Reception – Year 11), Looked After Children, and those who are classed as No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).
This funding is for pupils currently eligible for free school meals and does not extend to pupils who receive free school meals under the transitional protection or universal primary free school meal scheme.
If you believe you are eligible for Free Schools Meals and have not already submitted an application, then please complete our online Free School Meal application form above.
If you have any queries relating to this 2023/24 grant please e-mail email@example.com or call our Catering Support Team on 01443 864055