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You are here:home > Learning > Schools > School meals > Free school meals

Free school meals

Parents may not have to pay for school lunches if they receive any of the following:

  • Income Support

  • 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. Currently post-16 pupils are only eligible for free meals if they attend a sixth form that is part of a school.

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.

Contact information