Free school meals
Entitlement to free school meals is a national benefit and the council has no discretion to extend this to other families who do not qualify. In law, only children from families in receipt of certain benefits and those being supported under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are eligible for free school meals.
Applications for free school meals are processed by each individual school; further information and the application form can be obtained directly from your child's school. Please note that you will be asked to provide proof of your eligibility and the school cannot provide free school meals without first seeing the appropriate documentation.
Children whose parents receive the following support payments are entitled to receive free school meals:
- Income Support (IS)
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- 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)
- The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.
Children who receive Income Support (IS) or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA) in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals. It should be noted that children who have not attained compulsory school age will need to satisfy the additional requirement of receiving education both before and after the lunch period to qualify for free school meals.
Most secondary schools operate a cafeteria service where individual items can be bought separately, although a set-price meal is also available. A number of schools now operate a cashless smartcard payment system for buying school meals. There are also facilities available in all schools for pupils who prefer to bring their own food.