Advertisement
Advertisement

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.

Free school meals for reception, year 1 and 2 children

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 and without completing an application for them. For more information contact your school.

Pupil Premium

For every pupil registered with us as eligible under the entitlement criteria, the school will receive extra funding. This is called the pupil premium. It is used to help raise achievement levels. 

Each school decides how to spend the funding. They must 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 us.

Answer:

Please note that the government have made changes to the entitlement criteria for new free school meal applications from 1 April 2018.

The entitlement criteria from 1 April 2018 is -

  • 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
  • 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) 
  • Universal credit (provided you have an annual net earned household income of no more than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods). Your net earned income is your household income after taxes and deductions and does not include income from Universal Credit or any other benefits you may receive.

If am child is already registered for and receiving free school meals you do not need to make a new claim as a result of this change. In fact, any pupil who has a live free school meal as at 1 April 2018 under the old criteira, or makes a successful new claim after 1 April 2018 under the new criteria will  keep their free school meals until the government have completed their roll out of free school meals (expected to be March 2022), even if you no longer meet the entitlement criteria. At March 2022 if the pupil is still a school they will then keep their free school meals until they move to the next phase of education. We will write to parents at that time to advise them what to do.

However, because of the changes it does mean that whilst one child may be entitled under the old criteria and their free school are being protected, an application for another child after the 1 April may be refused. This could mean that one child will receive free school meals and the other won't.  If you are unsure please contact the free school meals team.

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
  • your entitlement to Universal Credit has been confirmed

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.

Please note that children being fostered are not normally eligible to claim free school meals as the fostering allowance paid is intended to cover the cost of the provision of meals for the child.

If your child has a finalised Education, Health and Care Plan and is registered as a pupil at a special school they can receive free school meals at nursery age - if you are not sure if have a finalised plan or if they are registered at the school (and not at some other nursery provision on site) please check with the school before making your application for free school meals.

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 and without completing our application form. 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 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 criteria continue to register a claim with the council if they meet the entitlement criteria above.  

Answer:

If your child is moving from one Staffordshire school to another you wouldn't generally need to re-apply but please check with the school you are moving to.

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 TC602 Tax Credit award notice, a letter from the National Asylum Support Office confirming you are receiving support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 or copies of the 3 most recent Universal Credit statements or entitlement letters (if you have been on Universal Credit less than 3 months please provide copies of the all the statements or entitlement letters you have received so far). Your statements are obtained by you from your online Universal Credit account. If you don't have an online Universal Credit account, to request copies of your entitlement letters please contact the Department for Work and Pensions or your Jobcentre Plus office.

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:

  • Chase View Primary School
  • Cheslyn Hay Primary School
  • Chesterton Primary School
  • Landau Forte Greenacres Primary Academy
  • Willows Primary School, Lichfield

Additionally if your child is starting at the new Henhurst Ridge Primary School or new John Taylor Free School at Branston Road which both due to open in September 2018 please contact them directly to make an application   

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

Remember, you can only claim free school meals if your child is going to be in Reception year or above when the meals begin. 

Answer:

Please note you should only complete an application if you wish to apply for free school meals because you meet the low income criteria. If you simply wish to obtain free school meals from September 2014 under the new universal infant free school meals criteria which provides free meals to all reception, year 1 and 2 children, do not complete this form but contact your school directly.

The information you provide will be used to determine initial and ongoing entitlement to make an application for free school meals for the child(ren) named on the application form and for any other siblings who join Stafforshire schools at a later date.

Please note that children being fostered are not normally eligible to claim free school meals as the fostering allowance paid is intended to cover the cost of the provision of meals for the child.

Please note there are some Staffordshire schools that do not use our service and so you will need to contact the school directly. To check which schools please see the previous question 'Do you deal with applications for all Staffordshire schools?'

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 instant 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.

 

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.

Displaying 1 to 6 of 6

 

There are no results that match your criteria.

Share this information
  • facebook17
  • twitter17
  • google17
  • intagram17
  • email17