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Free school meals and Pupil Premium funding

If your child is already receiving a free school meal due to your eligibly to qualifying benefit, there is no need to apply again. Your child will already be included on the school list.

Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

The government’s school food plan provides funding for government-funded primary schools in England to offer a free lunch to every child in their reception classes, year 1 and year 2.

Year 3 and above

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on: paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • 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)

Applying for free school meals

We use the Department for Education’s free school meals eligibility checking system, meaning you will receive an instant result notification and the school will be informed.

To apply, you will be required to register and provide:

  • Your National Insurance Number or National Asylum Support Service Reference Number
  • Your family name
  • Your date of birth
  • You may also be required to upload a copy of your benefit document.
Check your eligibility and apply for free school meals

If your child qualifies for free school meals

For primary school children, we'll send you a letter within a week of you filling out the online application to let you know. Your child or children can then get their free school lunch straightaway.

For secondary school children we'll notify you by email or letter within a week of you filling out the online application to let you know. If your child’s school has a cashless system, your child will be provided with an account which will be credited daily with a specific amount of money, which will be sufficient to buy a main course, dessert and drink.

If you'd like any further support, please phone the free school meals team on tel: 01629 536481

Alternatively, please email:

Pupil Premium funding

Pupil premium funding is additional funding for schools to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in England.

Pupil premium is not a personal budget allocated to individual eligible pupils; it is funding awarded to schools based on the number of eligible pupils on roll. It is at the discretion of the school leaders to determine how best to spend the pupil premium within the requirements of the conditions set by the government.  

What is the link between free school meals and pupil premium funding?

All infant pupils are entitled to free school meals. However, it's still important that schools know which infant pupils meet the benefit criteria for free school meals. This is because the school receives pupil premium and formula funding based on the number of pupils that are eligible for free school meals.