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How to apply for free school meals.

Pupil Premium and Free School Meals


Pupils who are eligible qualify for £1,320+ a year to support their studies


Do you qualify?


Since September 2014, the government has offered universal free school meals to all pupils in infant schools, regardless of parental income. However, you may not realise that at KS2, when your child joins the junior school, free school meals are only allocated to families who apply through Essex County Council because they feel then meet the Government’s criteria. Children who are eligible will not automatically receive free school meals: parents/carers must apply to Essex County Council. Even if your child does not want to take the free school dinners and will be bringing a packed lunch from home each day, we would urge you to apply for them, if you are entitled, as the school receives funding based on the number of eligible children.


An award can only be provided where a parent/carer/child receives) (correct at 5/5/2020):

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit), with an annual income of below £16,190
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance, income related
  • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999
  • Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit, with an income of £7,400 or less (after tax and not including any benefits you get)


Pupil Premium funding is money allocated to schools based on the number of pupils in school eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and those who have been eligible at any time in the last 6 years. It is also for any Looked After Children. This money is allocated to ensure pupils reach their potential, both academically and socially. This funding may be used to pay for school trips, counselling, peer mentoring, Lego therapy, music lessons, fee paying clubs and many other enriching activities that assist eligible children in being happy and well rounded.  If your child receives free school meals, the funding acquired by the school must be spent on your child directly or indirectly.  It will be a huge benefit to them academically so, again, we’d urge you to apply. 


If you believe you might be entitled to free school meals, you can apply through Essex County Council online at www.essex.gov.uk/free-school-meals.  


You do not need to discuss your circumstances with school staff at any time – the application is handled by Essex County Council – not the school. It is important to note that no other parents/carers or pupils will know you have been assessed and it will not affect any other benefits you are claiming.


For more information please refer to the Essex County Council website or the Parent section on the school website.