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Free school meals

There are two ways in which you could be entitled to free school meals for your child or children.

Every child in reception, years 1 and 2 in state-funded schools is entitled to a free school lunch from September 2014. The government made this decision after a recommendation in the school food plan. These meals are called Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM).

It is recognised that children and young people who eat well, are healthier, able to concentrate better and achieve more so the aim of UIFSM is to improve academic attainment and save families money - over the course of a year the average family spends £437 on school lunches per child.

Additionally, you may be entitled to free school meals for your child in Junior and Secondary School.

Parents receiving any of the following support payments are entitled to free school meals for their children:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child tax credit only, (not in receipt of working tax credit), and an annual income as assessed by the Inland Revenue not exceeding £16,190
  • Guarantee element of state pension credit
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA (IR))
  • Working Tax Credit 'Run-On' - Where the claimant has stopped working, or their hours have dropped below 16 hours per week and their Working Tax Credit has ended, this will grant a four-week entitlement

Pupils who receive income support in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals. If you require further guidance on qualifying benefits please contact the free school meals section.

Free school meals are also available to disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges.

Please print off the free school meals application form below, and then complete and return it to your child's school, together with proof of your qualifying benefit.

We would encourage everyone to register for free school meals if you think you may be entitled under any of the above benefits (even if your child is aged 4 to 7 and would qualify for a UIFSM) because registration for FSM allows your school to claim much needed and valuable funding for every pupil and student registered on the school roll. Currently that figure is £1,300 per pupil per year. This is called the Pupil Premium.

If you have any questions contact the Free School Meals Team on 01752 307410, email or Tell Ed and we'll direct your enquiry to the Free School Meals Team or view Ed's frequently asked questions.

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