Applying for Free School Meals

Free School Meals & Universal Infants Free School Meals

Who Qualifies for Free School Meals?

Free School Meals can only be awarded if you or your partner are claiming either;

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance – Income Based
  • Employment and Support Allowance - Income Related
  • Support under part V1 of the immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.

Note: From 1st May 2009, children are eligible for Free School Meals for a four week period immediately after the parent/carer becomes unemployed, or reduces their hours to less than 16 hours a week, but is still in receipt of Working Tax Credit.

What is Pupil Premium?

The government will continue to provide schools with additional funding to support or enhance the learning of pupils who are currently or have been entitled to free school meals within the last 6 years. It is essential that parents/carers apply even if the pupil does not wish to receive a free school meal.

Who Qualifies for Universal Infant Free School Meals?

From September 2014 the government are introducing universal infant free school meals for all pupils in Reception, Years 1 and 2. In order for your child's school to recognise who is eligible for universal meals and who qualifies for free school meals for funding purposes we would encourage all parents to register with their school by completing an application form even if the child does not wish to receive a meal.

How do I apply for Free School Meals and / or Universal Free School Meals?

If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, an application form can be obtained from your child's school.

If your child is in Year 3 or above, you can complete an online Free School Meals Application Form.

Contact Tracey or Karen in the Free School Meals Team on Tel 01905 766182 or at freeschoolmeals@worcestershire.gov.uk if you have any queries.

Download a Free School Meal Application Form.

What happens then?

  • Your eligibility for Free School Meals and / or Universal Free School Meals will be checked by your child's school
  • If we receive your free school meals application form, eligibility will be checked online
  • If you qualify for a Free School Meal under the benefit criteria, a letter will be sent to you confirming your Free School Meal Award
  • Your child or children's school will also be informed
  • Free School Meals cannot be granted to any child until either the school or ourselves have received a correctly completed form
  • Entitlement to free school meals cannot be backdated
  • Schools will know if your child qualifies for a Universal Infants Free School Meal.

What happens if my circumstances change?

If an applicant ceases to receive one of the above mentioned benefits, they must inform this office immediately, as entitlement to free school meals must be cancelled. Giving false information or failing to disclose a change in circumstances may lead to legal proceedings.

What do I do to maintain my claim for Free School Meals?

Your claim for Free School Meals will be reviewed on a regular basis. We use an online Free School Meals eligibility checking system provided by the Department for Education to confirm your entitlement.

NB The online checking system only confirms or denies your eligibility to claim Free School Meals: it does not give us any other information. If we cannot confirm your entitlement through this process we will contact you to ask you to provide up-to-date evidence of the benefit you receive.

Will I need to re-apply if my child changes school?

Your child remains entitled to free school meals as long as you are eligible. Free meal entitlement will automatically follow your child to the next stage of their education (i.e., in September) and the new school will be advised of this.

BUT – The Free School Meals Team will need to be advised if your child transfers to another school at any other time or for any other reason.