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Free school meals


  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  2. Eligibility
  3. How to apply

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Free school meals will still be provided to eligible children. South Tyneside Council is working hard to make sure children don't go hungry.

If you are newly unemployed or have seen a drop in income as a result of the current situation, you may now be entitled to free school meals for your children, so please check the eligibility information below and apply.

You can ring the Council's Contact Centre on 0191 424 7000 and request a free school meal eligibility check.

Supermarket vouchers

Supermarket vouchers were provided to families entitled to benefits-related free school meals for two weeks at Christmas, and for the February half term week. Each voucher had a value of £15 per child, per week.

An additional voucher will be provided for each eligible child before the end of March 2021. This voucher will have a value of £25. This voucher is to support families with the cost of food at a time when household bills are higher than usual, and because many families have extra pressure on the family budget due to COVID-19.

This is part of the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

Easter holiday activities  

We have ideas to keep everyone busy over Easter, including walking trails, brand new Easter holiday TV and recipe ideas. See Easter holiday food and activities.


    Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below:

    • 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 2022.

    How to apply 

    If your child is eligible for free school meals: 

    1. complete the Free school meals application form849.5KB
    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)

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