Free school meals

Criteria for free school meals

Children attending our schools whose parents or carers receive any of these benefits are entitled to free school meals:

  • child tax credits – provided your annual income as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs does not exceed £16,190. If you receive working tax credit you will not be entitled unless you’re in receipt of a four-week run-on
  • guarantee element of state pension credit
  • income support
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • income-related employment support allowance
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • universal credit


You can apply online to get an instant result. If you are eligible, your entitlement will begin on the day you apply and will end on the last day of each term. You need to apply again before the beginning of each term. You will need to apply for each child separately.

We are unable to backdate claims, so please ensure you apply before the beginning of each term.

If you are eligible you will be able to download an eligibility letter. If you are applying during the school holidays, we will notify the school for you. If you are applying during term time, you’ll need to show the school the letter. Keep a copy of the letter incase the school asks to see it again.

apply for free school meals

You should still apply if you claim benefits and have a child in reception, year 1 or year 2. This is to:

  • avoid any issues with your child’s school meals when moving from year 2 to year 3
  • make you eligible for other financial assistance for items such as school trips
  • enable a school to receive the funding it is entitled to

Changes to your circumstances

You must let us know any change in address or benefits that you receive. Entitlements to free school meals are reviewed regularly so your entitlement may be cancelled if we don’t have current details. If our checks show that you are no longer entitled, we will contact you.

free school meals