Free School Meals
What are the new eligibility criteria?
Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below.
- Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
- Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
I don’t currently claim free school meals – what does this mean for me?
If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, submit a claim to your local authority https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/schools/free-school-meals/ The information you provide will be used to check if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and, if you are on Universal Credit, that your earnings do not exceed the threshold. If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods.
If you are eligible, your school will be notified. Your child will receive free school meals and the school will receive extra funding which would be used to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after school activities.
I am currently claiming free school meals – what does this mean for me?
Most people won’t be affected by the new criteria. If you’re currently claiming free school meals, but don’t meet the new criteria, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end in March 2022.
Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary.
Where can I get more information?
If you need any further information, please contact the local authority or visit
It is important to note that -
- Taking up the meal is recommended but is not compulsory
- A child may receive additional help as a result of being registered, for example help with the cost of music lessons or school trips
- Registering a child for free school meals will bring more money to their school.
The school uses a cashless catering system. Students entitled to free school meals will have their account automatically credited with money.
DISADVANTAGED SUBSIDY FUNDS: APPLICABLE TO FREE SCHOOL MEALS STUDENTS (FSM)
Please note that the school has a limited amount of funds available under the `Disadvantage Subsidy’. The purpose of this subsidy is to allow equal opportunity to all our pupils. Accordingly, these funds may be used to support pupils and families in cases of financial hardship to allow pupils to access things including school trips, uniforms, music lessons etc. through a discount applied to the total cost.
For instance, if your child would like to participate in music lessons but the full cost might prevent them from doing so, the school may be able to offer financial support.
Families who are in receipt of free school meals may also apply to the school for financial assistance to help subsidise the cost of a school trip. Please email all requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. The decision to award assistance and the amount awarded will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Residential trips will be assessed on a trip by trip basis and those with significant curriculum value could also attract a discount. Where this applies, it will be made clear on the trip letter that is sent to parents.
The school will automatically apply a 50% discount for FSM pupils towards the cost of all revision guides and text books, that the school may be selling.
Parents are also able to contact me on the below email address to discuss other forms of financial assistance they may require. Thank you.