School Meals

Is your child eligible for Free School Meals?

Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you (or the child themselves in their own right) is in receipt of any of the following benefits.

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  • 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 - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 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 that anyone claiming Working Tax Credit, Contribution-Based Job Seeker's Allowance and/or Contribution-Based Employment and Support Allowance is NOT eligible for free school meals, regardless of what other benefits/credits are being claimed. However, you will be temporarily eligible to claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on, which is the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

Secondary School Transfer - 2018

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

Cornwall Council does not provide a grant towards school uniforms.  Each school's Governing Board are responsible for their policy on school uniform; therefore please contact your child's school to check if they offer assistance.

For information on reducing the cost of school uniform, please visit the Support in Cornwall website.

Transitional Protection - Universal Credit Rollout

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 March 2022.


Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)

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. 

If you are in receipt of any of the benefits listed above which would entitle your child to free school meals anyway, your school may be entitled to claim Pupil Premium funding to support your child’s education, just by you completing an application form.

When you apply we will check your eligibility for free school meals (or Pupil Premium for KS1 pupils) by checking against those held by HM Revenue and Customs, The Home Office and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Apply for Free School Meals

You can apply for free school meals (or Pupil Premium for KS1 pupils) online: 

Apply for Free School Meals and Pupil Premium

Applying online is the quickest way for us to deal with your application. Alternatively you can download an Application form for Free School Meals and Pupil Premium to apply by post.

Applications will be processed within three working days of receipt. We will notify you of the outcome in writing of 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, not Local Government; as such, there is no appeal process for free school meals.

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