Free school meals are available to young children and slightly older children in state schools whose families are on low incomes or who receive benefits themselves.
These meals are usually only available in term time, however.
Across England and Wales, children can receive free lunches (and sometimes milk) if their parents or guardians claim:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- State pension guarantee credit
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Child tax credit, as long as they don’t also receive working tax credit and earn no more than £16,190 (£16,105 in Scotland)
- Working tax credit four week ‘run-on’ after stopping work
support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal credit, if someone applied since April 2018 and their income is less than £7,400 a year after tax and not including benefits. (This threshold is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.) If someone applied for UC before then, there is no income threshold
- Children who receive any of these benefits themselves are also eligible for school lunches.
Infant free school meals in England
Your child will be able to get free school meals if they’re in a government-funded school and in:
- reception class
- year 1
- year 2