You could save up to £450 a year with free school meals for your child. School meals can also save you time and provide peace of mind that your child is enjoying a healthy, fresh, and nutritious meal at lunchtime.
Free school meals for all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils
All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to free school meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meal Scheme. You do not need to complete an application form, just get in touch with your school and they can arrange this for you.
Although this is not means-tested, if you do qualify for any financial support shown below, we would encourage you to complete our online form as this could enable your child's school to claim the Pupil Premium Funding to further support them.
Free school meals for all years for pupils whose families receive financial support
If you get certain benefits, your child could also qualify for free school meals during all school years. To qualify you must be receiving:
- Universal Credit, provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods (£616.67 per month)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guarantee element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, provided you are also not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual household gross income that does not exceed £16,190 (as assessed by HMRC)
- Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
Please note that contributions-based benefits, including contribution-related Jobseekers' Allowance do not entitle you to claim free school meals.
Apply for free school meals
You will receive an instant decision on whether your application is successful. If it is, we will fully process the application in 5 working days and notify the school. Once the school have received this your child can begin enjoying free school meals. You should continue to pay until confirmation comes through. Schools may be able to arrange reimbursement of payment made while your entitlement is being confirmed.
Free school meals claims cannot be backdated. They are awarded from the date we receive the application, once eligibility is confirmed. This is because there is a legal requirement for a request to be made, before a free school meal can be provided. If you are not entitled to free school meals, you will be notified in writing.
No recourse to public funds (NRPF) and free school meals eligibility
The government have extended free school meal eligibility to children in all households with no recourse to public funds, subject to maximum income thresholds.