Free school meals (FSM)


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Free school meals is a government initiative which provides children with a nutritious meal during term time.

You can apply for free school meals if your child is in full time education and you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

  • 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)

  • 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 guarantee element of State Pension Credit

If you receive Working Tax Credit you will not be entitled to free school meals unless you have stopped work in the last 4 weeks.

Children who receive Income Support or Income Based JobSeeker's Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

To apply for free school meals please contact your school office directly.

Mayor of London Universal Free School Meals 2023 to 2024

Following an announcement made by the Mayor of London, from September 2023, all primary school children in state-funded schools in London will automatically get free school meals for the 2023 to 2024 academic year. This could save families around £500 per child across the year. For more information, visit Mayor of London - Free School Meals.

Primary school children will automatically get their free school meal whether their parent or carer gets a qualifying benefit or not, but it’s very important that families on benefits still complete an application form for free school meals. If you qualify, your child will continue to get free school meals in September 2024.

There are significant other benefits that families receive when they are registered for a free school meal, which includes:

  • access to a place during the holidays where your child participates in enriching activities and gets a meal offered through the government Holiday and Activity and Food programme

  • schools claim additional funding from the government, known as 'Pupil Premium' for every child whose parent or carer receives one of the qualifying benefits. Your school uses this additional money to ensure that children achieve academically and have access to educational and cultural activities. It is worth over £1,000 per pupil for the school your child attends.


Page last reviewed: 26/03/2024

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