Free school meals and pupil premium

Your child will be able to get free school meals if they’re in reception class, year 1 or year 2.

You still need to register with us if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits as your child’s school can get extra funding, called pupil premium.

  • Universal Credit with a household income of less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
  • Income-Based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, not entitled to Working Tax Credit and household income less than £16,190
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit 'run on' – the payment you receive for a further four weeks after you finish work

Tell us if you get any of the above benefits as your child’s school can get extra funding, called pupil premium.

Register for free school meals and pupil premium >

Additional information

Pupil premium

The pupil premium provides extra funding to raise the achievement of some pupils. It is worth over £1000 per pupil for the school your child attends. Schools can also claim pupil premium funding for previously looked after children.

Apply by phone

You can ring your local area education office. It must be the person claiming the benefit that rings.

You will need to provide your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number

They will confirm whether you are entitled over the telephone.

Apply by post

Download the application form and return it to your local area education office.

Free milk

If you receive benefits, your child could also get free milk. Contact your school to find out what arrangements they make for school milk.

Work experience

If you already get free meals and your child is on work experience, you can claim for any lunches you have provided. Ask for details from the school.

Students over 16

Some young people over 16 can also get free school meals if they claim a benefit in their own right.

Qualifying benefits include:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance

Claiming for students over 16

If you attend a school sixth form or special school, contact your local area education office.

If you attend a sixth form college or FE college, contact the college direct to claim your free meals.

What happens next

If you are eligible, we will let the school know that your child can have free school meals.

You won't need to apply again as we check that you are entitled on a regular basis. We will also let you know if you are no longer eligible.

You should still contact us if:

  • You are no longer getting any benefits
  • Any of your personal details change
  • If you have changed address
  • If your children have changed schools

Schools differ in how they inform the dinner service who can get free school meals. Please contact your school if you have any questions.

Proof of benefit

We use the government benefits database to check entitlement for free school meals.

If it shows that you are not entitled, it does not mean that your children are not entitled to free school meals.

You may need to provide further proof of your entitlement so that we can check your claim again. You can do this providing us with a copy of one of the following documents:

  • The letter showing the breakdown of income support payment.
  • The letter showing the breakdown of jobseekers allowance or Employment Support Allowance.
  • Your complete TC602 Inland Revenue tax credit award notice for the current tax year.
  • Your Pension Credit M1000 award notice.
  • NASS support notice or IS96 document. You must include your NASS reference number, Port reference number and the name of authority providing support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum act 1999.

Contact your local area education office for more details.

Related websites

Pupil premium: funding and accountability for schools
How much pupil premium funding schools receive, how they should spend it and how they are held to account.