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.

For more information, please see the leaflet below:

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:

You can claim free school meals for children in Reception year and above 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) 
  • Universal credit

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.

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 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:

In most cases you wouldn't need to reapply 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 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:

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

For all other Staffordshire state schools (including acadamies) 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.

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