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Free school meals

Who qualifies for free school meals

Under current rules, 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 and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit.

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child might also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

Infant free school meals

Your child will be able to get free school meals if they’re in:

  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2

This includes academies, free schools, pupil referral units and alternative provision as well as maintained schools. You do not need to apply for free school meals if your child meets the above criteria, however if you are on a low income you should still apply so that your child’s school can claim the Pupil Premium. This is extra money paid direct to schools for each child who is eligible for free school meals due to the household being on a low income. It is used to support your child’s education.

How to apply for free school meals

You can apply online via the Citizen Portal using the link below (guidance is available). We will then check your eligibility and let you know whether you qualify. Please note, if you have already completed a primary or secondary school place application for the 2017/18 academic year via the portal, you do not need to re-register when applying for free school meals. Please use the login details that you have already set up.

The system will be unavailable between 6pm Friday 18 and Sunday 20 August 2017 for maintenance. We apologise for any inconvenience.

 

Apply for free school meals

What happens after you have completed an application

  • we will check your eligibility for free school meals
  • if you qualify for a free school meal under the benefit criteria, a letter will be sent to you confirming your free school meal entitlement.
  • your child or children’s school will also be informed.
  • contact your child’s school to find out how your child’s lunch will be served
  • free school meals cannot be granted to any child until either the school or ourselves have received a correctly completed application
  • entitlement to free school meals cannot be backdated
  • schools will know if your child qualifies for a universal Infants free school meal.

What happens if your circumstances change

If you are claiming free school meals due to receiving a qualifying benefit, or having a low income, you must inform us immediately if your circumstances change by telephoning 01454 868008. If you stop receiving one of the benefits listed above you will need to inform us because your entitlement to free school meals will stop.

Giving false information or failing to disclose a change in circumstances may lead to legal proceedings.

How to maintain your claim for free school meals

Your claim for free school meals will be reviewed on a regular basis. We use an online free school meals eligibility checking system provided by the Department for Education to confirm your entitlement.

Please note the online checking system only confirms or denies your eligibility to claim free school meals: it does not give us any other information. If we cannot confirm your entitlement through this process we will contact you to ask you to provide up-to-date evidence of the benefit you receive.

What to do if your child changes school

Your child remains entitled to free school meals as long as you are eligible. Free meal entitlement will automatically follow your child to the next stage of their education (i.e., in September) and the new school will be advised of this.

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