Free school meals

There are two schemes in place:

  • Universal Infant free school meals – for all children in Reception Year, Year 1 and Year 2. These are automatically given at the school and you do not need to apply for them.
  • Free School Meals – for those on qualifying benefits. Please apply for these using the online checker below.

Some children may be entitled to Free School Meals if their parents/carers receive certain benefits. If you are on these benefits, please use the checker below to apply for free school meals. You can still apply for free school meals using the checker if you claim benefits and have a child in reception, year 1 or year 2. This is to:

  • make you eligible for other financial assistance for items such as school trips
  • enable a school to receive the funding

Criteria for free school meals

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

  • 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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with annual Take Home Pay/Net Earnings below £7,400 (which equals £616.67 per month) benefits not included

Due to the roll out of Universal Credit, there are transitional protections in place for those who are already entitled to free school meals.

Eligible pupils will remain entitled to free school meals until the end their current phase of education, as at March 31 2022.

Due to the Universal Credit roll out, all pupils currently listed as eligible for free school meals will be protected until March 31 2022, regardless of benefit changes.

This means that if you are currently entitled to free school meals you should not reapply until your child changes school after March 31 2022, regardless of your benefit status.

If your child changes school or address during this time, please contact us so we can update your free school meals record. You can contact us by emailing, and we can update your record without the need to reapply.


How do I apply for free school meals?
Please use the online checker below, you will need your National Insurance Number.

My child starts school in September, when should I apply?
Please apply during the summer holidays, if you apply too soon, your application will be removed from the system.

My child is currently entitled to free school meals, should I reapply for next term?
No, if you reapply you may lose your entitlement. If your child is changing schools please contact us so we can update their free school meals record.

When will I need to apply again?
If you are currently entitled to free school meals you will need to apply again when your child changes schools after March 31 2022. This could be from primary school to secondary school, or secondary school to sixth form (even if the sixth form is at the same school).

Do I need to apply for all my children?
Free school meals entitlement is for the child, not the family, so each child will need to be applied for individually when they start school.

I have not yet applied, what should I do?
Please apply online by clicking on the ‘apply for free school meals’ button further down this page.

My application was not successful, what do I do?
Please check your National Insurance number and try again. If this doesn’t work please click on the ‘referral’ button, let us know what benefits you are on and we can then ask you for the relevant evidence.

I have moved from another area, do I need to reapply?
Yes, please apply on our system, and complete a referral should your application be unsuccessful.

How will my school know my child is entitled to free school meals?
Schools receive regular reports from the Free School Meals Team at the start of each term, and throughout the year, however should you require free school meals straight away, please show the school your eligibility letter, which will appear onscreen after a successful application. This can be printed, downloaded, or screenshot.



You can apply online to get an instant result. If you are eligible, your entitlement will begin on the day you apply and will last until the end of the school phase your child is in as at March 31 2022. You will not have to reapply during this time.

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 in order to get your free meals. Keep a copy of the letter in case the school asks to see it again.

If you are already entitled, you do not need to apply again until the end of the school phase your child is in as at March 31 2022.

apply for free school meals


free school meals