Free School Meals

Parents claiming some benefits can claim free school meals for any of their children who are registered at a Staffordshire school and who would normally be at school at lunch time. School meals are a good way to ensure that your child eats well at lunchtime, and you can save yourself time and money.

Even if you don't want your children to have the meals, claiming them helps their school. The more eligible parents who claim meals, the more funding the school receives.

PDF DocumentFree school meals information leaflet|

Infant aged pupils

From September 2014, if you have an infant age child (those in Reception, year 1 or year 2) they can receive free school meals even if you don't meet the entitlement criteria|. However, for every pupil registered with the council as eligible under the entitlement criteria, the school will receive additional funding called Pupil Premium which is used to help raise achievement levels. Each school will decide how to spend the funding and are required to publish details of what they have spent it on and the impact it has had. So that schools (and pupils) can continue to benefit from this extra funding it is important that parents who do meet the entitlement criteria continue to register their claim| with the council.     

 

Answer:

You can claim free school meals for your children if you are in receipt of any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • eligible for Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit and the household income (as used by HMRC to assess tax credits) is not more that £16,190. Please note: anyone eligible for Working Tax Credit, or if you have a partner and they receive it, regardless of Income, you will not qualify
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit (from 30th April 2005)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • In receipt of the 4 week run on of working tax credit (this is where someone becomes unemployed or reduces their hours and so is no longer entitled to working tax credit but will continue to receive it for a further 4 weeks and is entitled to free meals during that time) 

To prevent a delay in your claim, please don't apply before either:

  • Your eligiblity to working tax credit has ended but you are still receiving child tax credit and have a household income (as used by HMRC to assess tax credits) of less than £16,190, or receive one of the qualifying benefits listed above or;
  • Your claim for a qualifying benefit has been accepted and the start date for the benefit has passed or;
  • You have received your benefit or tax award notice showing that you meet the eligibility criteria

Please note we are unable to backdate a claim for entitlement to free school meals to cover unpaid money or refund money paid prior to the start date of a successful application.

Infant age pupils

From September 2014, if you have an infant age child (those in Reception, year 1 or year 2) they can receive free school meals even if you don't meet the entitlement criteria listed above. However for every pupil registered with the council as eligbile under the entitlement criteria, the school will receive additional funding called Pupil Premium which is used to help raise achievement levels. Each school will decide how to spend the funding and are required to publish how they spent it and what impact i has had. So that schools (and pupils) can continue to benefit from this extra funding it is important that parents who do meet the criteria continue to register a claim| with the council if they meet the entitlement criteria above.  

Answer:

If your child is moving school in September from one Staffordshire school to another Staffordshire school (for example primary to secondary school) and you have valid free school meal claim already registered with Staffordshire, you do not need to make a new claim for the new school. Your claim will be automatically transferred to the new school and we will write to you to advise you of this.

If you are moving at other times of the year between Staffordshire schools the old school should pass the information on to the new school for you.

Answer:

We don't always need to see proof of which benefit you are on in order to process your application. We can now check to see if you are entitled by using the National Free School Meals Eligibility Checking Service.

To use this service and process your claim, we need your National Insurance number (or national asylum support service number) and your own date of birth. Please note: By applying you are agreeing to allow us to check this service and to make regular ongoing checks to confirm entitlement.

If our check shows that you are not entitled we will ask for recent, written proof of benefit. Suitable written proof includes  a recent letter from the Benefits Agency giving details of the claim, your Pension Credit M1000 Award Notice, all pages of your Tax Credit award notice or a letter from the National Asylum Support Office confirming you are receiving support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Answer:

If you wish to apply for free school meals for any of the following schools, you will need to contact them directly as they do not use the County Council to deal with free school meal entitlement:

  • Landua Forte Academy Amington
  • Landau Forte Academy QEMS
  • Greenacres Primary Academy

For all other Staffordshire state schools (including acadamies) applications should be made through Staffordshire County Council

Answer:

If you wish to apply for free school meals at any of the following schools please contact them directly as the County Council don't deal with their free school meal applications -

  • Landau Forte Academy Amington
  • Landau Forte Academy QEMS
  • Greenacres Primary School

Apply online

Before you apply please check that you meet the entitlement criteria|. The quickest and easiest way to claim is Applying online|. It takes just a few minutes, you will get an insant yes or no answer and if you are entitled you can print the confirmation to give to your school to start the free meals immediately.

Apply by post

Before you apply please check that you meet the entitlement criteria|. If you cannot apply on line then print off one of the forms below, ask your school to give you a form to fill in, or contact us| to send you one in the post. However, applying online| is the quickest way.  

You should complete the form, filling in the names of all the children you want to claim for. You only need to fill in one form even if your children go to different schools

Word icon    Free school meals application form Word version| 

PDF Document    Free school meals application form .PDF version|

If applying by post, the completed form should be sent to:

Free School Meals
Staffordshire County Council,
Tipping Street,
Stafford,
ST16 2DH

Answer:

If your child is of secondary school age, and you are claiming free school meals or are in receipt of the maximum level of Working Tax Credit you may be able to get help with the cost of school transport. More information and guidance on how to apply can be found in the County Council's School Transport Policy|.

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