Free school meals
Please note: Schools are providing meal options free of charge to all infant pupils attending school. Schools are not required to provide food vouchers for reception and year 1 children who are not attending school.
If your child is in year 2 and usually receives free school meals, you do not need to make a new application to claim food vouchers while schools are closed.
Instead, please contact your child's school to claim vouchers.
COVID-19 - Summer food fund
Please note: The Covid Summer Food Fund will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals (FSM) to be supported over the summer holiday period. All vouchers for the summer holidays must be ordered at least one week before your school’s summer term ends. The costs will be met centrally by the Department for Education.
Please read the Summer Food Fund guidance in full before ordering to ensure your orders are processed correctly.
Children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2
All children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 get free school meals.
However, if you or your child receive any of the benefits listed on this page, you should apply for free school meals. This will help the school to get extra funding from central government, which will be used to buy additional resources to benefit its pupils.
Children from Year 3 onwards
You can apply for free school meals from Year 3 and above if you or your child receive any of these benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based Job Seekers 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 are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and your household annual income is less than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
- Universal Credit (provided your household annual income is less than £7,400 after tax and not including any benefits you get)
We will process your application within five school days. However, if you’ve recently applied for Universal Credit, we can only process your application once your benefit claim has been confirmed by the Department for Work and Pensions. This can take up to six weeks.
Change in circumstances
A change in your or your child's circumstances may affect your right to claim free school meals. You should inform us if:
- you or your child no longer receive any of the benefits listed on this page
- your child leaves school
- your family moves out of the borough
- your child is absent from school for a long time
To let us know about a change in circumstances, email email@example.com.