Free school meals

A free school meal is a school lunch we provide free of charge to:

  • All children in primary 1 to 5
  • Children from families on a low income

Children in P1 to P5: universal free school meals

All children in primary 1 to 5 get free school meals during term time regardless of their family's financial circumstances. These are called universal free school meals. You don't have to apply for them, your child will get them automatically. However, you will still need to apply for a school clothing grant if your child is entitled to it.

Families on a low income

In addition to the universal free school meals, children from low income families can get the following if they qualify:

  • Free school meals after primary 5
  • Payments during school holidays in P1 to S6 
  • School clothing grant (we will award this automatically if you qualify for free school meals based on your income)

To be eligible, parents or carers, or the child if they are between 16 and 18 years old, must receive a qualifying benefit (you must provide evidence of your entitlement):

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £19,995
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of less than £9,552
  • Universal Credit with a monthly take home pay of less than £796

We are waiting for more information from the Scottish Government about the proposed extension of free school meal entitlement to primary 6 and 7 children who receive the Scottish Child Payment. Therefore, pupils in primary 6 and 7 must meet the criteria above to be eligible for a free school meal.

How to apply

As part if your application you must provide supporting documents evidencing that you receive one of the qualifying benefits. You can email it to If you don't provide it with your application, we will get in touch to request it. Please contact us if you are having any difficulties with providing the documentation.

Apply for free school meals

View the free school meals and clothing grants privacy notice (PDF 40KB) to find out what we do with your information.

How it works

Primary school pupils who qualify for this entitlement will be provided with a free school meal. There is an online payment system in schools that will recognise when a child is entitled. Though payments are not required, we encourage parents and carers to register for school payments so they can view daily meal choices a pupil is making.

Secondary school children who are entitled will be given a daily credit allowance to be used in the school dining hall at lunchtime. The credit allowance is the equivalent value of a two-course meal. This automatically goes onto a pupil's account at the start of each day. Any sum remaining after the lunch period is removed.

If your circumstances change

If your circumstances change for any reason you must contact us.


If you have a query about entitlement to free school meals you can contact our Support and Advice team: