Free School Meals

How to apply for free school meals for your children

Coronavirus (COVID-19): change to service

A national voucher scheme has been launched allowing eligible children to continue to access meals whilst they stay at home.

If your child is at home, a packed lunch, weekly food hamper or food vouchers will be provided depending on the school’s arrangements. Schools will be in contact with families eligible for this scheme.

If you think your family meets the criteria, please speak to your school.

The Government have also introduced a temporary free school meal scheme for families that have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

See further information about changes to services.


We want to make sure that every child eats well when they’re at school. If your family finds it difficult to afford a decent lunch for your children, you can apply for free school meals.

Who qualifies for free school meals?

Your child might be able to get free school meals if you get 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 guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit. You must also have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018, your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Free school meals during Universal Credit roll-out

If you have any children who were deemed eligible as of 1st April 2018, their eligibility will be protected until March 2023. This protection applies to the individual child only rather than the family.

All children who currently receive free school meals will remain eligible until at least 31 March 2023. This also applies to any new children who are approved.

This means between now and 31 March 2023, you do not need to contact us to cancel free school meals, even if you feel your child is no longer eligible.

From 31 March 2023, any child receiving free school meals will remain eligible until they have finished that school phase, for example, a child in reception on 31 March 2023 would remain eligible until they finish primary school in 2029.

This protection has been put in place while the government rolls out Universal Credits nationally.

Pupil Premium Grant

If you are eligible for free school meals, your child’s school can access The Pupil Premium Grant. This grant must be spent by your child’s school to help eligible pupils reach their full potential, both academically and socially. The school decides how best to spend this.

How to apply for free school meals

If you have a child that attends one of the schools listed below, please contact the school directly to apply for Free School Meals:

  • Bethany CE Junior School
  • Elm Academy
  • Glenmoor Academy
  • Heathlands Primary School
  • LeAF Studios
  • Muscliff Primary School
  • Oak Academy
  • Queen’s Park Infant Academy
  • St Clement’s & St John’s CE Primary School
  • St Jame’s CE Primary School
  • St Luke’s CE Primary School
  • Stourfield Infant School
  • Stourfield Junior School
  • Winton Academy

If your child's school is not listed above, you can apply for free school meals online. We’ll tell you whether we can give you free meals within a week. We’ll also send a report to the school to let them know your children have qualified for free school meals.  

If you have any questions or need help, please contact our Free School Meals team on 01202 456223.