__________________________ Free School Meals


Free school meals are a statutory means-tested benefit which provides a child or young person with meals at school for free.
Taking up free school meals has positive outcomes for everyone:
  • children can benefit from a healthy free nutritious meal
  • families entitled to free school meals could save more than £400 per child per year by claiming free school meals
  • it’s anonymous for parents (because so much of the application process can be done online, a person’s entitlement is mostly processed electronically)
  • it’s anonymous for young people thanks to our cashless catering system
  • schools can benefit directly by receiving money from the government


Who can claim Free School Meals?

If you are on a low income or receive Child Benefit and any of these benefits, you could claim free school meals for your child:
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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 (earnings after tax and not including any benefits you get)
You may qualify for free school meals for your child if:
  • you are an asylum seeker
  • you live outside Barking and Dagenham but meet the previous criteria and your child is attending a school in the borough
  • your only or main income is one of the benefits listed



What is Universal Infant Free School Meals?

Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM), is the government’s programme that entitles every infant school aged child to a healthy, nutritious free school lunch.
So if your child is in reception, year 1 or 2, there will be no more paying for their school meals or worrying about what to put in their pack lunch. All children in these age groups will receive a nutritious meal every lunch time.
A nutritious school lunch is a big step towards making sure children grow up fit and healthy.
It also has the added benefit of teaching children more about social interaction and encouraging them to try new and exciting foods.
And last but not least it’s been shown when children eat a healthy, nutritious lunch their concentration and learning is better in the afternoon.


Registering children for Free School Meals will enable their school to receive extra funding to provide further support to pupils via the Pupil Premium Grant.


To apply for Free School Meals, please click here.


For more information on Free School Meals and Pupil Premium, please visit the DfE website.