Free School Meals Information
Your guide to free school meals
Free School Meals are available to children whose parents are in receipt of:
- Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance or Income Related Employment Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit, without any Working Tax Credit, and your annual household income (as assessed by HMRC) is below £16,190
- Guarantee element of State Pension Credit Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
It is important that children register for Free School Meals if their parent/guardian receives any of the eligible benefits. Registering for Free School Meals attracts additional funding for your school and may also qualify children for additional financial support for other activities eg:- School Trips. Although it is recommended the child eats the meal, this is optional and parents/guardians should register regardless of whether or not the child wants a meal.
Free School Meals are available for children who attend Local Authority maintained schools and Academies including 6th formers and nursery pupils that attend these schools.
Parents need to make an official application to receive Free School Meals for their children, but while their application is being processed schools have the discretion to issue TEMPORARY COVER. This temporary cover should last for a maximum period of TWO WEEKS and if authorisation is not received from this office at the end of this time please ensure that no further Free School Meals are taken. It is the Schools responsibility to keep a record of any temporary cover issued.
To download the form please click -here
A supply of application forms can be obtained from this section. You can also fax the completed forms to us on 01225 395210.
Free School Meals are currently renewed on a six monthly basis. Letters are sent by this section to claimants informing them that they need to renew their children’s FSM application 1 month before the end date (five months after applying), a renewal form is enclosed with this letter. They are then given 1 month to renew their application. 1 Week before this month is up we send another letter warning that meals will be cancelled in exactly 1 week. (ie the end date already given).
At each stage of the procedure schools receive a report. There are three types of report; one lists those pupils who are now entitled to receive a Free School Meal and the date of entitlement. A separate report is sent listing pupils who are due to renew their FSM application together with the date of renewal. Another list shows pupils whose meals should be cancelled and the date of cancellation. Please ensure that free dinners are not given after the cancellation date shown. A new report will be issued if the parent subsequently reapplies.
When a pupil transfers to your school please check Free School Meals entitlement with this section and not the pupil’s previous school. It is not necessary for parents to make a new application purely because their child has changed school.
Can you please ensure that this section is notified as soon as possible of any change of circumstances. Pupils who choose to bring sandwiches will remain on the entitlement list providing their parents are still receiving the qualifying benefit etc and the application is current.
We intend to issue a list showing the schools current Free School Meal eligibility on a termly basis. Once you receive this list please check and update your records and inform us of any changes.
As Free School Meal entitlement is used to determine elements of school funding under the LMS formula and school Pupil Premium it is ESSENTIAL that these procedures are followed, to ensure that you receive correct funding. If you have ANY query regarding any pupils’ Free School Meal entitlement please do not hesitate to contact us on (01225) 394317.
Please note we are unable to back date applications or to reimburse schools for meals which have been granted incorrectly. If parents have been paying for meals when they have been entitled to the above benefits please contact Contracts and Office Services on (01225) 394477 to discuss refunds.