Free School Meals entitlement
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 using the link on the right hand side of this page. Please ensure when you apply for free school meals that you confirm you agree to the declaration, without this consent we will not be able to process your application.
Alternatively you can apply using a paper application form which you can download from the ‘downloads’ tab at the top of this page or request a hard copy from your child’s school or by calling our Customer Service Centre on 01522 782030.
Who is entitled to free school meals?
Parents do not have to pay for school lunches if they receive 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 Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit* and have an annual household income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190 (as at April 2012)
*unless in the Working Tax Credit 'run on' - the payment someone may receive for a further 4 weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.
Children who receive any of the qualifying benefits listed above in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals.
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 the 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 £900 (expected to rise to £1,200 in April 2014) per free school meal pupil. 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.