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Could my child be entitled to free school meals?

You can now apply directly to the local authority and do not always have to provide paper proof of benefit.

It's not just a free school meal

If you are eligible to claim free school meals your application will trigger additional government funding for your child’s school.

This funding will be invested in your child at school. Some schools offer help with uniforms or discounted school trips for those children eligible for a free school meal. This will in turn save you more money on top of the price of your child’s meal.

Please ask your child’s school how they use this funding.

Eligibility

Under current regulations only children whose parents or carers are in receipt of any of the following will be entitled to free school lunches:

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’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 are entitled to Working Tax Credit during the 4-week period immediately after your employment stops, or after you start to work less than 16 hours per week, your child would also be eligible to free school meals for this 4-week period only.

Children who receive these benefits in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

Universal infant free school meals

All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are eligible to receive a free school meal.

All children who are, or whose parents are, claiming one of the above eligibility criteria will trigger additional government funding for the school they attend. This funding will be invested in your child at school. Some schools offer help with uniforms or discounted school trips for those children triggering the extra funding.

Therefore even if your child is attending Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and is automatically entitled to claim a free school meal, it is important that parents still apply for the pupil premium funding. This will ensure the school receives the funding to which they are entitled to.

Contact Information

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