Free School Meals

Who is entitled for free school meals?

Your child might 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
  • 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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit


Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.


Your child might also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:


  • younger than the compulsory age for starting school
  • in full-time education

Infant free school meals in England

Your child will be able to get free school meals if they’re in:


  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2

Tell your local authority if you also get any of the above benefits. Your child’s school can get extra funding if you do.



Children who receive any of the qualifying benefits listed above in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals.


How to apply for free school meals?

The easiest way to check if you are entitled to receive free school meals is to apply online; you can do this by following the PDF attached at the bottom of the page. 



What if my circumstances change?

You should notify the school and the Customer Service Centre on 01522 782030 of any changes:

  • if you start work and come off benefit
  • if you change address
  • if your child changes school


What is Pupil Premium?

The school receives a Pupil Premium payment for the year in which families are eligible for free school meals and automatically for the next five years? This year it is £1320 per eligible primary pupils and £935 per eligible secondary pupils. This additional funding will be invested in your child to help them achieve more at school. Some schools offer free uniform, trips, one to one tuition and additional teaching support, help towards music lessons and after school activities. If eligible for free school meals, you may also be entitled to claim other forms of assistance, for example with home to school transport. 


Free School Meals and Healthy Eating

Over the last few years the quality of school food has improved dramatically. Research shows that pupils are more likely to concentrate in lessons if they have eaten a nutritionally balanced meal at lunchtime. By choosing school lunches, not only will you be saving yourself the time of preparing a packed lunch every day, you can also be sure that your child is getting the range and amount of food that will help contribute to their health and well-being. On average parents spend £400 on packed lunches per year for each child, which is money that could be spent on other things.


Parent Instruction to apply for FSM Sept
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