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Free school meals

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2, are eligible to a free school meal through the Universal Infant Free School Meal scheme. It is still important that you complete an application form as the school receives additional funding for those who are eligible.

Any child may qualify for a free school meal if you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support. 
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance. 
  • Child Tax Credit, provided a parent is not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190.
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.
  • Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • Universal Credit.

Children may also be eligible for additional benefits such as help with school uniform costs or travel to school

How to apply for or renew your free school meal entitlement

You can pick up an application form at your child's school or print one off from this page. Schools have a choice of which application form they use so if you are unsure which form to complete please check with your school. If you have more than one child at different schools you will need to complete a separate form for each school. Please return the completed application form to the school .

Application without paperwork

Icon for pdf Free school meals application form (no paperwork required) (PDF, 223.9kb)

For this application you won't need to supply proof of your eligibility each year as you give us permission to check the council's and the Department for Education's records on your behalf.

Application with paperwork

Icon for pdf Free school meals application form (paperwork required) (PDF, 228.0kb)

For this application you must provide the school with proof of eligibility for the relevant benefit. This evidence will need to be provided for each subsequent year that you qualify.

If your circumstances change

It is your responsibility to inform the school if you have a change in circumstance that may result in you not being eligible. Failure to do so may result in money being owed.

Contact us
School meals
03000 268 002
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
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