Free School Meal (FSM) Support during School Closure

Schools are continuing to provide support for children eligible for income related FSM, during this period of school closures. This will be in the form of either food parcels or supermarket vouchers. Your child’s school will be able to confirm the support that they are offering. For any queries regarding this support, please contact your child’s school directly

Covid-19 - Winter Grant Fund

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are working with other organisations to support many people whose lives have become more difficult because of COVID-19. This support is being offered in two ways;

  • Direct Food voucher Scheme - This scheme is available for children registered at schools and registered for Elective Home Educated, who are eligible for income related for Free School Meals, up to and including the 26th March 2021. If have already completed a free school meal application, your application will be processed and, if you are eligible, the food voucher will be sent to you directly by either email or text.
  • Additional Support for Vulnerable Families and Individuals. Please visit the Cambridgeshire Winter Grant Scheme webpage or www.peterborough.gov.uk/wintersupport

Covid-19 - Temporary Extension of FSM eligibility for families who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

The government have announced that they are temporarily extending FSM entitlement to include the following groups of children, who ordinarily would not have recourse to public funds (NRPF), whose gross household income is no more than £28,200pa. These groups are;

  • Children of Zambrano carers (where the child is a British citizen but their carer is not).
  • Children of families who have a right to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).
  • Children of families supported under Section 17 of Children Act (1989) who are subject to NRPF

The temporary extension also includes children of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. For these children the household income thresholds do not apply.

If you believe your child may qualify under these new temporary criteria, please contact the Education Welfare Benefits team at ewb.fsm@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call telephone on 01223 703 200 to request an application form.

Free school meals for your child

If you were 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.

Did you know?
  • Families who are currently paying for school meals will save around £450 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 (Schools) April 201851KBpdf
Information on free school meals, early years funding and pupil premium.
Size: 51KBFile format: pdf
Information for Parents (JUN Schools) August 201850KBpdf
Size: 50KBFile format: pdf
Information for Parents (SEC school transfer) April 201849KBpdf
Size: 49KBFile format: pdf
Parents Guide v2 April 201843KBpdf
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: 43KBFile format: pdf
Free School Meals Explained - April 201997KBpdf
Size: 97KBFile 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 Circumstances54KBpdf
Size: 54KBFile format: pdf
Free School Meal application form 2020-2198KBpdf
Size: 98KBFile format: pdf

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: ewb.fsm@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01223 703 200