Free school meals

Parents or carers of children attending an East Riding of Yorkshire school (not college) can apply for free school meals for their child(ren).

Is my child entitled to free school meals?

Your child(ren) will be entitled to free school meals if you as the parent are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • Job Seeker's Allowance (income-based)
  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit - Your annual income assessed by the Department for Work and Pension must be less than £7,400. Any pupil eligible for free school meals before 1 April 2018 when the earned income threshold is introduced will retain their eligibility until then end of universal credit roll-out which is March 2022
  • Child Tax Credit (but NOT receiving Working Tax Credit) – provided your annual income, assessed by the Inland Revenue, does not exceed £16,190
    (Please note: this amount is subject to change in April every year)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Entitlement to free school meals is kept as confidential as possible. Many schools now have systems in place such as swipe cards or fingerprint identification systems, which do not identify to other pupils the fact that a child is receiving a free school meal.  

The free school meal will remain in place for as long as your child continues to attend an East Riding of Yorkshire school and you continue to be entitled to one of the above qualifying benefits.

How do I apply for free school meals?

The quickest way to get your application processed is to apply online.

Get in touch
(01482) 394799. You will need to provide your National Insurance number or registered asylum seekers number.
Customer service centres

You can make an appointment to visit any of our  customer service centres.

Can my child receive free school meals whilst at college?

Children can receive free school meals if they are under 19-years-old, in full-time education and attending a school with a sixth form.

I am in financial difficulties, can you help in any other way?

If you are struggling financially or would like further information on benefits, then please contact our Welfare Visiting team: 

Get in touch
(01482) 394633

Will I receive written notification if my application is successful, and how will the school be notified?

If your claim is successful, you will receive a text or email to confirm the start date; you will need to let your school know that your child has been awarded free school meals. Children receiving free school meals will retain their entitlement under the Universal Credit Transitional Protection Directive until March, 2023, however, any changes in circumstance should still be reported to us.

What will my child receive as a recipient of free school meals? 

Your child will receive a healthy, nutritional free meal at school. 

All East Riding of Yorkshire schools which follow the current menu cycle produced by the East Riding school meals team, provide meals that meet the government's food standards.

How much does my child receive when eligible for free school meals?

Children do not receive cash.

The school will provide a free school meal. The allocation is a fixed amount to align with the 'meal deal' in secondary schools and the two-course school lunch in primary schools.

Can my free school meals allowance be back-dated?

No. Free school meals are awarded from the date a claim is made, once eligibility is checked and verified.

Will my child receive any support during the holidays?

Yes, the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme provides children and young people aged 5-16 years in receipt of benefit related free school meals a range of fun and creative activities to enjoy for free during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. All activities will be for 4 hours and will include a free meal for all participants.

To find out what opportunities are taking place in your area, please sign up to the HAF newsletter.

I have been receiving free school meals but this was wrong as I have been getting working tax credits, will I have to pay the council or the school this money back?

No. Free school meals eligibility will be ended from the date that you inform benefits that your circumstances have changed.

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