Free school meals
Make a free school meal application online.
Who can get free school meals?
If your child attends a state school, and you get one or more of the following you can get free school meals:
- Universal Credit, and your annual household income is £7,400 per annum (£616 per month) or less after tax, and not including any benefits.
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999
- Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and your annual income is less than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
- Guaranteed Pension Credit
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit run-on paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
If your child attends a state school, and one or more of the following applies to your family, your child can get free school meals:
- Zambrano carers
- families who have no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
- a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Chen carers
- families holding a BN(O) passport
- spousal visa holders
- work visa holders
- student visa holders
- those with no immigration status
Families must also meet the following financial criteria:
- £22,700 for families with 1 child
- £26,300 for families with 2 or more children
Download a paper application and supply a copy of evidence of immigration status.
Universal Infant Free School Meals
All children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 receive Universal Infant Free School Meals, If you are not on benefits, there is no need to apply, you just need to speak to your school about arranging for these to start.
If you are on benefits and meet the criteria, it is worth applying online for children this age, If eligible, you can receive food vouchers during the school holidays, and your child can attend the Ready Steady Worcestershire School Holiday clubs. This will also allow the school to claim Pupil Premium.
Pupil Premium can be used by your child’s school to support your child’s education. See your school’s website for how they use Pupil Premium to support their students.
After you have completed your application
- your eligibility for free school meals will be checked using the Government’s automated Eligibility Checking System (ECS) checker the application is processed by the Free School Meal team
- if you qualify for a free school meal a message will be sent to you confirming your free school meal award and your child or children's school will be contacted
- please contact your child's school to find out how your child's lunch will be served
- free school meals cannot be granted to any child until we have received a correctly completed application
- entitlement to free school meals cannot be backdated
- schools will know if your child qualifies for a universal infant free school meal
My circumstances have changed, does my child continue to get free school meals?
If your child has free school meals, and you no longer receive benefits or there is a change in your immigration status, your child can still have a free school meal until the end of the Universal Credit Roll Out. The Government has said this will be no earlier than July 2025 for the protection period to end. This could be longer and will depend on when your child moves up to the next stage of education.
After July 2025 or your child moving up to the next stage of education which ever is later, your free school meals should continue unless your finances change.
We are unable to add any further siblings when you are no longer eligible under of the above criteria, however all children in Key Stage 1 children (those in reception, year 1 and year 2) will receive a Universal Infant Free School Meal regardless of any change of circumstances including economic or immigration status.
For claims made on our portal, we use the Eligibility Checking System provided by the Department for Education to reconfirm your economic entitlement. We will send you messages if there are any changes to your child's status. Please note 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.
Please see the council’s privacy statement in regards to the use of your data.
My child has moved to a different school
If your child has moved to a different school during the current school year, known as in year transfers, you will need to make a new application once you have confirmed their start date.
If your child is moving up to a middle or high school their free school meal entitlement with normally move with them to the new school. You do not need to make a new application if you have accepted the school place offered. Please let us know if your child is going to a different school than the one that was accepted in Spring.
If your child is starting school in September, we’ll give you a provisional answer when you apply and will confirm a final decision in July.
Claiming free school meal vouchers during the school holidays
Please note you will need to contact your school directly regarding the issuing of Free School Meal vouchers during school holidays.
The current government scheme for Universal Infant Free School Meal is not included in the school holiday voucher scheme.
Does your child attend one of these schools?
- Bengeworth CE Academy
- Bretforton First School
- Carnforth School
- Hollymount School
- Stanley Road Primary School
- Woodrush High School
If they do you need to apply for free schools meals directly with the school and not via our online portal.
Ready Steady Worcestershire provides holiday activities and food at Easter, Summer and Christmas holiday periods. Eligible benefits related Free School Meal Children can attend these activities free of charge.
The Household support fund can help families who don’t qualify for Free School Meals but are struggling with food costs.