Free school meals

A free school meal is a school lunch we provide free of charge to children from families on a low income:

Who can get free school meal

If your child attends primary school and qualifies for this entitlement they will be provided with a free school meal. An online payment system is in operation which will recognise when a child is entitled. Though payments are not required parents and carers are advised to register to access this system to allow them to view daily meal choices a pupil is making.

If a child attends a secondary, they 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.

Children are eligible for free school meals if their parents (or carers) are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

The qualifying benefits and allowances are:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit)
  • Any income related element of Employment Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit (WTC), and have an income of less than £18,725
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of less than £8,717
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with a monthly net pay from your employer of less than £726 (this is based on your actual net pay, not the figure determined by Universal Credit)

If you are 16-18 years old and receive any of the above qualifying benefits in your own right, you can apply for free school meals.

How to apply

If you qualify for free school meals we will automatically award a school clothing grant.

View free school meals and clothing grants privacy notice (PDF 40KB).

Apply for free school meals and school clothing grant

Supporting documents

You can send any supporting documentation for your application to If you do not provide supporting documentation with your application, we will contact you to provide the necessary information to support your claim.

If you are experiencing any difficulties in providing the documentary evidence in support of your claim please contact us for advice and assistance.

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: