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Free school meals

Many families in the borough are struggling to afford the basics, but lots of children who are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) are not yet receiving them. 

The benefits of FSM 

  • savings of more than £450 a year per child
  • saves time making packed lunches
  • your child gets a healthy tasty, cooked meal
  • children achieve more when they've had a cooked lunch
  • school gets extra funding to help children in their education (pupil premium- up to £1455 a year per child)


Universal FSM - Reception, Year 1 and 2

Your child will be able to get FSM if they are in a government-funded school and they are in:

  • reception - you can apply as soon as your child's school place has been confirmed
  • year 1
  • year 2 

 Year 3 and above 

Your child will be able to get FSM if you receive any of the following:

  • 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
  • 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)
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household earnings must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Please note: any child who becomes eligible for FSM between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2023 will remain entitled to a FSM regardless of any change in parental income until they finish the phase of education they are in (primary or secondary) as of 31 March 2023.

No recourse to public funds

If you are not able to access financial help from us e.g. benefits, your child will only be able to get FSM if they fall into one of the following eligible groups:

  • 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

You will also need to evidence that your annual household income is below:

  • £22,700 for families with one child
  • £26,300 for families with two or more children

In addition to these thresholds, families must hold no more than £16,000 in capital and savings.

Apply for Free School Meals

Changes to tell us about 

  • you start work and come off benefits
  • your benefit changes
  • you change address
  • your child changes school
  • you have another child starting school for the first time
Report a change in circumstances

Access for School Administrators 

You can use our self service facility to check which of your pupils qualify for free school meals.