Universal Primary Free School Meals - FAQs

What are Universal Primary Free School Meals (UPFSM)?

UPFSM is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, which will see free school meals being available to all primary school pupils (including full-time Nursery children) regardless of household income.

When will these meals be available to pupils?

From September 2023 all primary aged pupils will receive Universal Free School Meals (including full-time Nursery children)

Will I need to fill in an application form to get UPFSM for my child(ren)?

All primary aged pupils (including full-time Nursery children) are qualified to receive UPFSM automatically. Parents and carers will not need to fill in an application form but will be asked by schools on a weekly basis, which days they would like their child(ren) to take up this offer.

Families on low incomes or those in receipt of certain benefits 

Even if you receive a Universal Free School Meal for your child, you should still apply for Free School Meals (eFSM) as this may entitle you to other benefits such as support with purchasing school uniform (School Essential Grant). 

Please follow the (eFSM) application process so you don’t lose out on other benefit opportunities.

My child(ren) currently receive free school meals (eFSM) how will the introduction of UPFSM affect me?

Families on low income or already in receipt of (eFSM) will continue to be eligible to receive other benefits, such as the school essential grant and will not be affected by the introduction of UPFSM. There is an application process for (eFSM), and it is important that when the new UPFSM scheme is introduced eligible families continue to follow the eFSM application process. 

Further information can be found on the Free School Meals webpage.

I would prefer my child(ren) to continue taking a packed lunch to school – will this be possible?

Yes, you can still send your child(ren) into school with a packed lunch if you choose to. You can also take up the offer of UPFSM on some days or provide a packed lunch on others.

I want my child(ren) to have school dinners, but I want to continue paying for them – will this be possible?

In line with Welsh Government’s commitment to provide all primary aged pupils with free school meals by 2024, there will be no system in place to pay for a school meal by pupils in the appropriate year groups receiving UPFSM from September 2022.

My child(ren) has/have a specific dietary requirement/allergy. Will this be catered for?

Yes. Special diets and identified allergies are catered for across all schools currently, and this will continue. Please discuss the specific requirements of your child(ren) directly with the school.

My child(ren) is/are fussy eater(s). What options do you have for children to select from?

Catering providers currently offer a fully nutritionally balanced menu which includes various daily options. Please discuss any concerns you may have with your school.

My children prefer sandwiches, will there be an option of a packed lunch under the UPFSM scheme?

Sandwiches can be provided to cater for school trips or seasonal events throughout the year.

More information about universal primary free school meals will be made available here as and when it becomes available.