School meals

Free school meals

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 can receive free school meals, regardless of income. 

Children not in these years can also have free school meals if their parent or guardian receive any of these benefits:

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job seeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, submit a claim using the form below.

The information you provide will be used to check if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and, if you are on Universal Credit, that your earnings do not exceed the threshold. If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods.

If you're currently claiming free school meals

The eligibility criteria for free school meals have recently changed. 

If you're currently claiming free school meals, but don't meet the new criteria above, your child will remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they're in on 31 March 2023.

How to apply 

You will need to apply for free school meals if you receive any of the above benefits, even if your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2.

To apply: 

  1. complete the Free school meals application form
  2. include proof of benefits
  3. contact your child's school to submit your application form (if you cannot get hold of your child's school, call the Council's Customer Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000)