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Free school meals

Check if your child can get free school meals and apply to us.


Free school meals

A lot of people don't apply for free school meals. That's why we are continuing with our campaign to encourage all families to register regardless of if they believe they may be eligible.

You don’t need to worry about other children knowing your child gets free school meals. Only the school, and in secondary schools the catering staff, will know.

You could save £400 a year for each child and your children could benefit from a good hot meal at lunchtime. The school will benefit too as they’ll get the pupil premium of £1,000 a year from the government for each child eligible for free school meals.

Free school meal entitlement

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you (or the young person themselves, where appropriate) get any of the following:

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit* (WTC) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190) as assessed by HRMC
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

Universal Credit has begun to be rolled out in Derbyshire and will affect all areas of Derbyshire by the end of 2018.

Most families will not be affected by the new criteria. Families who are currently claiming free school meals, but fail to meet the new criteria, will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period, even if they continue to appear as no longer eligible on future reports. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end in March 2022.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, pupils will keep their free school meal entitlement until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary.

Read more about free school meals guidance for schools and local authorities.

Young people age 16-18 who receive the above benefits or Tax Credits in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

Even if you meet any or all of the above criteria, families will not be eligible if they are claiming Working Tax Credit.

After you've applied for free school meals we'll email you to let you know if your application has been processed and the outcome of the eligibility check.

Apply for free school meals