Find out if your child can get free school meals, how to apply, and understand how to get extra funding for your school.
Pupil Premium is extra funding for every child who’s eligible for free school meals throughout their time at school. The funding paid to the school supports your child in their learning.
Is my child eligible?
Pre-school children aged 2, 3 and 4 (not yet in a reception class)
Your child will be eligible for free school meals if they:
- go to a maintained school
- are on the roll of a school/academy with an integral pre-school class
Check if you meet the eligibility criteria.
To get free school meals, your child will need to be attending sessions before and after lunch on that day.
Pre-school children at:
- private or community pre-schools
- school-based nurseries (which are not integral to the school/academy)
cannot get free school meals, even if parents meet the eligibility criteria. If you don't know what type of setting your child is at, ask the staff.
Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2
All Key Stage 1 (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2) children get free school meals, regardless of what benefits are being claimed. This is part of the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) initiative.
Some of these children might be able to get benefits-related Free School Meals. Children in this group are also eligible for pupil premium. This is funding paid to the school to support your child in their learning. It is important to apply for benefits-related Free School Meals if you think you fit this criteria.
Your child will be eligible for benefits-related free school meal if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Children in Year 3 and above
Your child may be eligible for benefits-related free school meals if you, or the child themselves, meet the eligibility criteria.
If eligible for Free School Meals, your child will also be eligible for pupil premium. This is additional funding paid to the school to support your child in their learning.
A child is eligible for free school meals if their parent/carer (or the child themselves in their own right) receives 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). This is 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. This is 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
You can claim free school meals if you receive a Working Tax Credit run-on. This is the payment you may receive for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.
Making an application if you feel are eligible
Please visit the apply for free school meals page.
Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.