Can You Get Free School Meals?

Following recommendations in the School Food Plan, from September 2014 the government is funding free school meals to all Key Stage 1 pupils (in reception, year 1 and year 2) in state-funded schools in England.

That means that if your child is in Key Stage 1 they’ll get a free lunch every day. You don’t need to apply, they will be automatically eligible so log on and start ordering.

If they’ve never had a Local Food Links school meal before, have a look at our menu to see what they’ll be enjoying!

Means-tested free school meals

If your child is in Year 3 or above, you may be able to claim means-tested free school meals – it’s easy to set up, and completely confidential.

Your child qualifies for free school meals as long as you receive any of these benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit; this is as long as you’re not entitled to Working Tax Credit and your annual gross income is no more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit ‘run-on’ payment (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit: this is as long as your household income is less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

The school doesn’t see any information about your income.

Children who are paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

To see you if you’re eligible, visit the Dorset free school meals page.

Means-testing and extra benefits for Key Stage 1 children

If you’re entitled to means-tested free school meals – even if your child is in Key Stage 1 – you should still apply for them. That’s because the school will get extra money to give children better access to learning, and possibly to help with costs like buying school uniform and school trips.

What you need

Just your name, date of birth, National Insurance number (or registered asylum seeker number), and your child’s details (name, date of birth, and school).

How to apply

Apply for free school meals – Dorset Council, or call Dorset Direct on 01305 221000.