Free school meals

Coronavirus: service update

Food bags are available for collection at a number of schools across the borough for children who are now at home in school time and are eligible for free school meals. These bags contain five day’s worth of ingredients to make lunches.

For information on all service changes please see our services changes page.

All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to a hot free school meal. However, if your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and you receive one of the listed qualifying benefits, you should make an application for free school meals as the school your child attends will receive extra funding. 

If your child is in Year 3 or above, and you receive one of the listed qualifying benefits, you should make an application for free school meals. 


Qualifying benefits for 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 guarantee 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 is a disqualifying benefit regardless of your household income - this means that you would not be entitled to Free School Meals whilst in receipt of Working Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

Young benefit claimants application for free school meals

Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals. 


How to apply for free school meals online 

The information provided allows for an automated check via the Eligibility Checking Service, if the result is inconclusive then we will email you to request proof of benefit.

If your child is entitled, we will email you and the school to inform you of the start date entitlement.  

All communication regarding Free School Meals is done via email only. 

Apply for free school meals

Council Tax support 

Do you get any help with your Council Tax? If not and you are finding it difficult to meet your payments please visit the Council Tax webpages

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