Information about Covid19:
Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

School Meals

Covid-19 Pandemic – Important Information

Schools are now closed to children except those in vulnerable groups or children of key workers. However, schools have been asked to make arrangements to continue to provide meals for children on benefits-related Free School Meals and Pupil Premium, including those who are not attending school. This may include providing meals or food parcels, or providing supermarket vouchers. If this applies to you, you should contact your child’s school for more details of their arrangements – supermarket vouchers are not issued by Cornwall Council. If your child has an existing benefits-related Free School Meals entitlement you will be automatically entitled to alternative provision through the school – you do not need to apply through us again. Check with your child’s school if you’re not sure.

These arrangements will not apply for children in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 who are receiving meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals entitlement rather than as a benefits-related entitlement. If you have a child in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 who you think may have an underlying entitlement to benefits-related Free School Meals please check the eligibility criteria below and make an application online. 

We are continuing to process new applications for Free School Meals. To apply, please ensure you read the eligibility criteria below before applying. Please complete the online application form below if you are eligible.  We are not currently accepting applications in hard copy by post. If you are unable to apply online, please call the Free School Meals team on 01872 323298 and a member of the team will call you back to complete the application over the phone. Please make sure your phone will accept calls from a private / withheld number. 

The Department for Education has been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’.

We can confirm that this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.

All Key Stage 1 (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) pupils are entitled to receive a free school meal as part of the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) initiative, regardless of what benefits are being claimed. Whilst schools are closed to most pupils during the current Covid-19 pandemic, schools are not required to provide meals or vouchers to Key Stage 1 children who usually receive free meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme but are not currently attending school.

However, some children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 and receiving Universal Infant Free School Meals may have an underlying entitlement to benefits-related Free School Meals. Schools will make arrangements for these children to continue to receive free meals, either through meals, food parcels, or supermarket vouchers.

Your child may be eligible for benefits-related free school meals if you, or the child themselves in their own right, receives of any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Job Seekers' Allowance (Income-Based) and equal based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA-IR) and equal based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) with an annual income of less than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Guarantee Element of Pension Credit (GPC)
  • Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (IAA) Support
  • Universal Credit - Your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get) as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods

Please note you have to be in receipt of payment before an application can be assessed for Free School Meals.

If you are claiming the benefits listed below you are NOT eligible for free school meals, regardless of what other benefits/credits are being claimed:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Contribution-Based Job Seeker's Allowance and/or Contribution-Based Employment and Support Allowance

However, you will be temporarily eligible to claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on, which is the payment you may receive for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

During the current Covid-19 pandemic, schools are not required to provide meals or vouchers to Key Stage 1 children who usually receive free meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme but are not currently attending school. However,if you think your Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 child may be entitled to benefits-related Free School Meals, please ensure you read the above eligibility criteria before applying online using the application form below. If your child has an existing benefits-related Free School Meals entitlement you do not need to apply again.

Your child may be eligible for benefits-related free school meals if you, or the child themselves in their own right, receives of any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Job Seekers' Allowance (Income-Based) and equal based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA-IR) and equal based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) with an annual income of less than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Guarantee Element of Pension Credit (GPC)
  • Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (IAA) Support
  • Universal Credit - Your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get) as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods

If you are claiming the benefits listed below you are NOT eligible for free school meals, regardless of what other benefits/credits are being claimed

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Contribution-Based Job Seeker's Allowance and/or Contribution-Based Employment and Support Allowance

However, you will be temporarily eligible to claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on, which is the payment you may receive for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

You can apply for free school meals, and Pupil Premium online. Please ensure you have read the important information on this page before applying. 

Apply for Free School Meals and Pupil Premium

Applications will be processed within three working days of receipt. We strive, and frequently achieve, to process applications much quicker.

In peak periods, particulary at the start of term and school census, we will endeavour to process applications received but cannot guarantee to process applications received within the three working day period.

We will check your eligibility with HM Revenue and Customs, The Home Office and the Department of Work and Pensions.

We will write to you to let you know the date your free school meals will start. Please note that we are unable to backdate any claim.

If your application is successful, your childs/childrens entitlement will continue until the end of their school life or until you cease to be eligible – whichever is first.  There is no longer a need for claims to be renewed annually.

As the eligibility criteria for free school meals is determined by Central Government there is no appeal process for free school meals.

Children currently entitled to Free School Meals at Junior School will automatically have their entitlement transferred to Secondary School.

From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold during that time. In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period. The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in December 2023.

Cornwall Council believes that when children eat better, they achieve better. Whether families are paying for school meals or are entitled to them for free, children are more likely to concentrate in the classroom in the afternoon after eating healthy school lunches in a pleasant environment. This also improves their health and their learning about making better food choices.

Schools in Cornwall are responsible for arranging their own school meal provision; however, all schools must meet the national nutritional standards.