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Applying for Free School Meals

Free School Meals and Universal Infants Free School Meals

Are you Eligible?

You may be eligible for free school meals if your child attends a state school, and you must be receiving one or more of the following:

  • Income Support 
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance 
  • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999 
  • Child Tax Credit, and your annual income is less than £16,190 
  • Guaranteed Pension Credit 
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Working Tax Credit run-on 
  • Universal Credit, and your annual household income is £7,400 per annum (£616 per month) or less after tax, and not including any benefits.

If your child is currently receiving free school meals, and the above criteria no longer apply, your child’s eligibility is protected, and they will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit Roll Out. The Government has currently scheduled no earlier than July 2023 for the protection period to end. This could be longer and will depend on your child’s current year group.

Please submit an online application via this Citizen’s Portal to register your details with us so that we can keep in touch with any updates. We are unable to add any further siblings when you are no longer eligible under the benefit related criteria, however all children in Key Stage 1 (reception, year 1 and year r2) will receive a universal infant free school meal regardless of your circumstances.

Before you apply

Does your child attend one of the following schools?

  • Bengeworth CE Academy
  • Bretforton First School
  • Carnforth School
  • Far Forest Lea Memorial CE Primary Academy
  • Hollymount School
  • Stanley Road Primary School 
  • Woodrush High School 

If they do you need to contact the school directly to apply for free school meals.

Are you submitting a brand new claim?

Please click on apply and include all your school age children in the application. The process for Nursery aged children will be launching soon. 

Does your child already receive Free School Meals?

Please do not be concerned that applying online will affect current arrangements - all eligible families are protected until at least July 2023. We need your permission to communicate with you via email and portal messages, to do this, we need you to use the portal, enter your details and make an application. This will mean reapplying for free school meals for your child(ren) so we can communicate with you.

Further Support

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. To find out more and apply for these places, please visit: Ready Steady Worcestershire

The Worcestershire Virtual Family Hub has been developed to give you a range of different types of resources that are available to you online, on the phone or face to face that you can access directly yourself. To find out more, please visit: Worcestershire Virtual Family Hub

Additional Information

What is pupil premium?

Pupil premium is extra money paid direct to schools for each child who is eligible for free school meals. It is used to support your child's education. Please apply for free school meals if you are eligible, so your child’s school can access pupil premium funding.

What happens after I have completed my application?

  • your eligibility for free school meals will be checked using the Government’s automated ECS checker and the application is processed by the Free School Meal team
  • if you qualify for a free school meal under the benefit criteria, a message will be sent to you confirming your free school meal award and your child or children's school will also be informed
  • please contact your child's school to find out how your child's lunch will be served

Please note: 

  • 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

What happens if my circumstances change?

Your child/ren will continue to receive free school meals entitlement until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your circumstances change for whatever reason. Once the Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their entitlement until at least July 2023 while they complete their current phase of education for example primary or secondary school.

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 by the Free School Meals Team once the Universal Credit roll out is complete. We use the Eligibility Checking System provided by the Department for Education to reconfirm your 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.

Will I need to re-apply if my child transfers mid-year?

Yes, once a start date has been confirmed, please log into the portal, make a new application for the child and amend the school that your child will be attending, and submit a new application on the portal. 

Will I need to re-apply if my child transfers in September?

Free school meal entitlement will normally automatically follow your child to the next school and the new school will be advised of this. There is no need to complete a new application so long as your child goes to their offered and accepted school place. If your child goes to a different school than the accepted school offer, please reapply. 

If your child is starting school in September, we will acknowledge your application and confirm arrangements with you and your child’s school in August. 

My older children receive free school meals, what do I need to do to add my younger one?

Log into the portal and submit an application for the younger child(ren). No need to reapply for the older child(ren). If you no longer meet the criteria, your younger child(ren) may not be able to claim free school meals but will be able to receive universal infant free school meals if they are in reception, year 1 or year 2. 

Does your child receive universal infant free school meals?

From September 2014 the government introduced the universal infant free school meals for all pupils in Reception, Years 1 and 2. Universal infant free school meals child(ren) do not receive vouchers during the school holidays. If you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and wish to receive the holiday vouchers, please apply for free school meals so we can inform your school and they will receive the correct funding. 

How do I apply for universal infant free school meals?

If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, and you do not receive a qualifying benefit the school will supply your child with a universal infant free school meal during term time only.

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 are not included in the school holiday voucher scheme.

Complete a new Free School Meal application