How to apply for free school meals?

From September 2014 all pupils in reception, year one or year two in primary schools will be entitled to free school meals.

For children in year three and above they could get free school meals if you get:

  • • Income Support (IS)
  • • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA-IR)
  • • Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance (IB-JSA)
  • • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • • Child Tax Credit and are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and your annual income, as assessed by the Inland Revenue, does not exceed £16,190
  • • Working Tax Credit 'run on'- the payment you receive for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

If you receive one of the above benefits that entitle your child to free school meals, you can also register your eligibility with the council so that the school can benefit from additional funding, called pupil premium.

The pupil premium gives schools extra funding to raise the achievement of some pupils. This is measured by the number of children eligible for free school meals based on the above qualifying benefits. It is worth over £1000 per pupil for the school your child attends.

How to claim

In reception, year one or year two:

If your child is starting reception, year one or year two in September 2014 you do not need to apply for free school meals. Just contact your child's primary school to check what they need to do to get their free meals. Their free school meals will stop at the end of year two, unless you receive the above qualifying benefits.

For year three and above and to register for pupil premium:

To apply, complete an application form (downloadable from HERE) or simply ring your local Area Education Office with details of your name, date of birth and National Insurance number and an immediate on-line decision can be given (see contact details below for phone numbers).

You do not need to re-apply annually, your children will continue to receive free school meals unless you cease to be entitled, and the Council will let you know should that arise.

Contact details for your area:

Contact Your Area Education office on : 0300 123 6701