There are two types of free school meals:
- Government free school meals
- Universal free school meals
Who qualifies for government free school meals?
Free school meals can only be awarded if you or your partner are claiming any of the following:
- Income support
- Job-seekers allowance – income based
- Employment and support allowance - income related
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child tax credit, provided you're not entitled to working tax credit and have an annual income that doesn't exceed £16,190
- Guarantee element of state pension credit.
Note: children are eligible for free school meals for a four week period immediately after their parent/carer becomes unemployed, or reduces their hours to less than 16 hours a week, but is still in receipt of working tax credit.
Who qualifies for universal free school meals?
Universal free school meals are provided for all pupils in Reception and Years 1 and 2. In order for your child's school to recognise who's eligible for universal meals and who qualifies for free school meals for funding purposes, we would encourage all parents to register with their school by completing an application form, even if the child doesn't wish to receive a meal.
How do I apply for one or both of the free school meal schemes?
If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, an application form for universal free school meals can be obtained from your child's school, or you can complete the online universal application form.
Similarly, if your child is in Year 3 or above, you can obtain a government free school meals application from your child’s school or complete the online government scheme application form.
What is pupil premium?
The government will continue to provide schools with additional funding to support or enhance the learning of pupils who are currently or have been entitled to free school meals within the last six years. It's essential that parents/carers apply for free school meals even if the pupil doesn't wish to receive a free school meal.