Free school meals

Children in reception, year 1 and year 2 at maintained schools automatically get free school meals. Your child may also be eligible for free school meals beyond year 2 if the criteria is met.

Further information

Free school meals for reception, year 1 and 2 children

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 classes are entitled to universal infant free school meals. If you meet the qualifying criteria listed below, completing an application could help your children's school get valuable extra funding through the pupil premium.

Who is eligible for free school meals?

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • National asylum seeker support
  • 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)
  • The guaranteed element of state pension credit
  • Working tax credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for working tax credit.
  • Universal credit

How to apply for free school meals

You should only apply for free school meals if you receive one of the benefits listed above. For universal infant free school meals, speak to your child's school.

  • Apply online
  • Call 0116 454 1009. Make sure you have your national insurance number when you call. 

What is the pupil premium?

The pupil premium is extra funding the government gives to schools to raise the achievement of disadvantaged pupils. The amount a school receives depends on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Parents are encouraged to register their children, even if:

  • they do not want to eat school meals
  • they already receive universal infant free school meals.

This is in order to raise extra money for the school, which can be used towards extra tuition, learning assistants or after school clubs.