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Parenting

Free School Meals

Free School Meals

From September 2014 all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (key stage 1) in state funded schools and academies are eligible for Free School Meals.

You don't need to apply. Your child will get free meals automatically under the new 'Universal Infant Free School Meals' scheme.

In England, Children at key stages 2-4 are also entitled to Free School Meals if their parents or carers are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • 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 Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of £16,190 or less.
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.
  • Disadvantaged students at sixth form colleges and further education colleges will also be eligible for free school meals from September 2014.
  • If your child is eligible for Free School Meals, it's worth registering them as Schools receive a 'Pupil Premium' - an extra payment for each eligible child which they can spend on services to help them do their very best.

Registering might also get you extra help for things like music lessons or school trips. Your child doesn’t have to eat the free meal, although it is recommended that they do as they will get a free, healthy lunch each day and you could save more than £350 per year.

No one will know you have registered and it does not affect any other benefits you are claiming.

How to apply

If you want to register for Free School Meals for your child, contact your child’s school or your local authority. You may need to provide a letter to prove that you’re receiving one of these benefits - your local Jobcentre Plus should be able to help with this.

To apply online go to Apply for free school meals.

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