Free School Meals
Free School Meals
There are two schemes for free school meals:
- universal infant free school meals for all children in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 – you do not need to apply for these meals. Children are automatically entitled to them
- free school meals for people on qualifying benefits – you will need to apply for these
If you claim qualifying benefits and your child is entitled to universal infant school meals, you should still apply for free school meals so:
- you are eligible for other financial assistance for items such as school trips
- the school can receive funding for the free school meals
The local authority have details of support available for free meals during school holidays.
Qualifying benefits for free school meals
Your child will be entitled to free school meals if you get any of these benefits:
- income support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- 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)
- Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit with annual take home pay/met earnings below £7,400 (which equals £616.67 per month) benefits not included
How to apply
Free school meals entitlement is for the child, not the family, so you will need to apply for each child when they start school.
If your child is starting school in September, you should apply during the summer holidays as an application cannot be dealt with by the authority any earlier. Applying too early could result in your application being removed.
If you are moving into North Somerset from another area you will need to apply.
You will need your National insurance number to apply.
Follow the link to apply for free school meals through North Somerset Local Authority.
What will happen if my child is eligible for Free School Meals?
- If your child is eligible you will be able to download an eligibility letter from North Somerset to confirm this.
- If you require free school meals immediately, please bring this letter to school to show us - you can print it, download it or screenshot it and show a member of the admin team in the school office.
- Remember to keep a copy of the letter in case we need see it again in the future.
- We will will also be notified by the local authority of any new eligible pupils via a report. This may take up to 10 working days, so please do download your eligibility letter so your child can start receiving their free meals immediately.
- Under the current rules, eligibility will last until the end of your child's time with us in Year 6.
Please do not re-apply at any point whilst your child is with us at Mendip Green as you may lose your entitlement based on a new assessment.
What can I do if my application is not successful?
- If your application isn’t successful, check your National Insurance number and try again.
- If this doesn’t work, select the ‘referral’ button to let the local authority know what benefits you are on - they will contact you to ask you for evidence.
- During this time, please get in touch if you require any support or advice - we are here for you.
When to reapply
Due to the roll-out of Universal Credit, all pupils who are currently eligible for free school meals will be protected until the end of the primary, secondary or sixth form school they are currently in.
- You will not need to reapply until your child leaves Mendip Green at the end of Year 6 – please do not reapply as you may lose your entitlement.
- If your child moves school before the end of Year 6, please email in to firstname.lastname@example.org and so the local authority can update your free school meals record for you – please do not reapply as you may lose your entitlement.
- If your child's homes address changes, please email email@example.com so the local authority can update your free school meals record.
- During the summer holiday before your child starts secondary school, you can reapply for Free School Meals to ensure they have their entitlement when they start in Year 7.
We will update this page should the guidance change.