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Free school meals for your child

If you are eligible for free school meals on 31 March 2018, you will receive free school meals until March 2022, regardless of any change in your circumstances while the Department for Education (DfE) rolls out Universal Credits. There is no need for you to re-apply during this time, even if your child moves schools within Cambridgeshire.

Apply for free school meals

Did you know?

  • Families who are currently paying for school meals will save around £400 a year for each primary school child if they are entitled to free school meals.
  • Many schools have systems which mean it is impossible for other pupils to know who is receiving free school meals.
  • School children who are eligible for free school meals are entitled to a two course meal worth approximately £2.30 for primary and £2.35 for secondary each day.
  • When you apply for free school meals, you will also allow your child's school to receive Pupil Premium, which is extra money to support children from families on lower incomes.
  • If your child is in receipt of universal infant free school meals (where your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2), we recommend you apply if you believe you may be eligible for free school meals, because the protection will continue beyond Year 2.
  • Secondary school children who are entitled to free school meals might also qualify for help with school transport costs.
  • If you also have a 3 or 4 year old child who is in a free childcare place, they may also be eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium.

Eligibility criteria

Your child will get free school meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit - but no element of Working Tax Credit - and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)) that does not exceed £16,190
  • If you are supported under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit during the four week period immediately after your employment finishes or after you start to work less hours per week
  • Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 (as from 1 April 2018)

Information for parents / carers whose children are starting school

Information on free school meals, early years funding and pupil premium.

Size: 50.99 KB File format: pdf

Is your child eligible for Education Welfare Benefits?

Parents' guide to eligibility for free childcare, early years pupil premium, free school meals, pupil premium, home to school transport and the 16 - 19 bursary scheme.

Size: 42.17 KB File format: pdf

Processing your claim

Your claim will be processed within three working days of receiving a valid application form. If successful, you and your child's school will be informed of your child's entitlement to free school meals.

You will be contacted in writing to confirm when your child's entitlement has started. Eligibility will continue to be checked via our secure Electronic Checking System.

If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods. This process may take longer to confirm your eligibility.

If your personal circumstances change, such as a change in name or address, please fill in the change of circumstances form below.

Change of circumstances form

Size: 53.68 KB File format: pdf

Paper application form

Who to contact for further help

If you need further help, you can contact the Council’s Education Welfare Benefits Team for information about:

  • benefits which support children financially while at school or college
  • applications for free school meals

Education Welfare Benefits Team
OCT1222
The Octagon, Shire Hall
Castle Hill
Cambridge
CB3 0AP

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 01223 703 200

School meal links

School meals provided by Cambridgeshire Catering Service (CCS)

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