You may be eligible to receive Free School Meals and funding for your child’s school through the Pupil Premium, if you receive of one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based)
- Employment Support Allowance (Income Related)
- Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and your household annual gross income (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) is less than £16,190
- Working Tax Credit Run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit- NB: if you are working, your net income must be less than £7,400 a year (ie: after tax) . This does not include any benefits you get.
- Support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
Pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 who attend a government-funded school are offered free school meals without the need to make an application. If you receive a qualifying benefit, it is important that you still apply for Free School Meals to get funding for your child’s school through the Pupil Premium.
From the start of the 2022 summer term (19/4/22), Free School Meals will be permanently extended to all families affected by No Recourse to Public Funds -subject to the following income and capital thresholds:
- £22,700 per annum for families outside London with one child.
- £31,200 per annum for families within London with one child.
- £26,300 per annum for families outside London with two or more children.
- £34,800 per annum for families within London with two or more children.
- Capital/Savings threshold of £16000. Anyone with joint capital/savings above this figure, regardless of their household income will NOT be eligible for Free School Meals.
These thresholds were developed to create comparative thresholds with broad equivalence with families with recourse to public funds, and who qualify for free school meals due to being in receipt of welfare benefits.
How to apply
Here, you can check that the school is a participating school and then apply online. If the school is not listed, you need to apply to the school directly.
If you do not have the internet at home, you can go to your local library or come to the Civic Offices and use one of our free computers.
Important: If you have recently received notification as to which school your child has been allocated, (either for Primary or Secondary); please do not apply for Free School Meals until your child has actually started at the school, or is about to.
This does not apply to anyone who has a child who attends a Local Authority maintained school nursery across the lunchtime period, and will be moving into reception in September. Nor does this apply to any child moving to or starting a new school mid term. Free School Meals entitlement for these children will begin on the day their Free School Meals application was made.
Any other application for a child made prior to starting school in September, will be refused and parent asked to reapply nearer the start of the Autumn Term.
Out of Borough Schools: If you live in the London Borough of Sutton, but your child attends a school that is outside of the borough, please contact the council where your child attends school.
Part time pupils are not entitled to free school meals. Apart from children who are receiving education before and after the lunch period. Eg: pre school child who attends a Local Authority maintained school nursery across the lunchtime period.
Home Schooled Children are not entitled to free school meals. This is because they are not enrolled with a school. However if you are struggling , please contact the Cognus Inclusion Coordinator on 07508 993068 or by email EHE@cognus.org.uk
Once your Free School Meals application is received, your details will be checked against the Department for Education database. If eligibility is confirmed, your child’s details will be passed to the school to arrange for your child to receive Free School Meals and for the school to receive the Pupil Premium funding.
Important: Once Free School Meals has been awarded, there is no need to re-apply each term- unless your child has moved schools or you have had a change in your financial circumstances. You can email any changes or enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free School Meals entitlement for your child may change once Universal Credit has been completely rolled out across the country. This is currently due to be in 2024, however this date is subject to change.