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Free school meals & milk

Parents who are in receipt of one of certain benefits may qualify for free school milk and/or meals.

Applications for free school milk will be considered for children attending Reception to Year 6 in primary school and for children attending special schools.

Applications for free school meals will be considered for children attending Reception to Year 13 in primary, secondary or  special schools.

Parents should apply directly to the school that their child attends. The school will need to see confirmation that they are in receipt of one of the benefits to process the application.

You may qualify for free school meals if your receive:
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA)
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA(IR)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit, but who are not entitled to Working Tax Credit, and whose annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) does not exceed £16,190 as of 6 April 2010. Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week, their children are entitled to free school milk and meals.
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit

Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

You can download a copy of the Free School Milk & Meals guidance notes.  

Registering for free school meals - extra benefits:

Registering for free school meals doesn't mean your child will have to eat the school lunch - there are other benefits. Some schools and local authorities offer extra support to children who are registered - for instance, help with the cost of school trips or music lessons.

Schools also receive a payment, or Pupil Premium, for each child who is registered for free school meals - £488 for this school year. This money helps them to provide extra support like extra tuition, learning assistants or after-school clubs.

You can find out more by visiting the Directgov - Free School Meals external website & you can also get information regarding healthy diets for you & your family at Change4Life.