From September 2014, all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England are eligible for free school meals.
Parents may not have to pay for school lunches if they receive any of the following:
income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
income-related Employment and Support Allowance
support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment finishes or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week
Children who receive Income Support or income-based Job Seeker's Allowance in their own right qualify as well. Children under the compulsory school age who are in full time education may also be entitled to receive free school meals.
All pupils who do not qualify for free school lunches must be charged the same amount for the same quantity of the same item.
How to apply
If you wish to apply for free school meals, you can check your free school meal eligibility (link opens in a new window) or contact the school that your child attends.