Free school meals

Free School Meals (FSM) is the provision of a healthy school meal to disadvantaged pupils, as part of the Education Act 1996. Children may be entitled to receive these at school if they are of compulsory school age and applicants meet the below criteria.

How to apply for free school meals

If your child is of compulsory school age, we recommend you:

Parents/guardians should see each relevant guidance section below before applying.

Children below compulsory school age within full-time education may be able to secure additional education provider funding, we recommend discussing this with your provider.

Free meals may also be available to post-16 pupils following similar criteria as below, to apply please contact the institution directly.

Parents/guardians, and in some instances the child themselves, can become FSM eligible by meeting the criteria in both (A) and (B) sections as follows:

A) There must be a valid FSM application associated with the receiving child

This can either be completed by the applicant (parent/guardian/child) or by the child’s school on their behalf. We recommend schools have a privacy policy that supports this.

B) The applicant (parent/guardian/child) meets any of the following criteria

1 Is in receipt of one or more eligible benefits SHOW

2 Is covered by Transition Protection following the Universal Credit rollout from 1 April 2018 SHOW

3 Is from an identified family group with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) SHOW

Specific guidance

Pupils in Reception, Year 1, and Year 2 SHOW

Free meals in further education (FE) funded institutions SHOW

Transitional protection SHOW

Further Guidance