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Free school meals

Find out if your child qualifies for benefits-related free school meals and how to apply.

Free school meals for reception, year 1 and 2 children

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 classes automatically receive universal infant free school meals.  However, if you meet the qualifying criteria listed below, completing an application for benefits-related free school meals could help your children's school get valuable extra funding through the pupil premium.

We are now accepting applications for children due to start school in autumn 2021.  Please note - you will not receive a response to your application until after the end of the current term.

There is no need to reapply if your child is already registered for benefits-related free school meals and moving from one Leicester City school to another, e.g. if they are transferring to a Junior or Secondary school.

Who is eligible for benefits-related free school meals?

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • 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 guarantee element of state pension credit
  • Working tax credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for working tax credit.
  • Universal credit with annual net earned income of less than £7,400 

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.

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.

Holiday Activities and Food Programme

Leicester City Council will not be operating a free school meal voucher scheme over the summer holiday period.  The Holiday Activities and Food Programme is in place to provide children and young people who are eligible for free school meals with free activities and healthy meals during the school holidays.

Get in touch

If you have any questions on free school meals or need support with your application, please email: or call 0116 454 1009 (option 3).