Infant free school meals in England
All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in a government-funded school are eligible for Free School Meals; however, tell your local authority if you also receive any of the qualifying benefits (see below) as the school can benefit from extra funding to support your child if you do.
Is my child eligible for free school meals in England
Free School Meals are a statutory benefit. Applying for a free school meal could raise up to an extra £1320 per annum for six years for your child’s school (funded by central government). This can help to fund valuable teaching and learning support for your school (and is still paid to the school even if your entitlement ceases).
The Government recognises the benefits mentioned below. If you are not sure, please contact us.
Free school meals are available to children of families who are in receipt of:
- Income Support
- Jobseekers Allowance (income based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income based)
- Guarantee Credit (the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit)
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Until 1 April 2019, all UC claims were eligible for free school meals, however,
- From 1 April 2019, UC claims will only be eligible for free school meals if the total net earned income is under £7,400 per year OR if the child was eligible for a free school meal on 01/04/19
- Where the child was eligible for a free school meal on 01 April 2019, they will remain entitled to a free school meal regardless of any change in parental income until they finish the phase of education they are in (primary or secondary) as at 31 March 2023
- Any child who becomes eligible for a free school meal between 01 April 2019 and 31 March 2023 will remain entitled to a free school meal regardless of any change in parental income until they finish the phase of education they are in (primary or secondary) as at 31 March 2022
- Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have a total annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
Parents receiving Working Tax Credit for four weeks after their employment finishes are entitled to free school meals during that period. This also applies to parents who start working less than 16 hours per week (please seek advice about this from the Benefits Agency)
Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive Free School Meals.
In cases where children receive education who have not attained compulsory school age, there will be a conditional requirement that they receive education both before and after the lunch period, before being eligible to receive Free School Meals.