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Free school meals

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We want to make sure that every child eats well when they’re at school. If your family finds it difficult to afford lunch for your children, you can apply for free school meals.

Your child might be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • 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 (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit. You must also have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018, your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Pupil Premium Grant

If you are eligible for free school meals, your child’s school can access The Pupil Premium Grant. This grant must be spent by your child’s school to help eligible pupils reach their full potential, both academically and socially. The school decides how best to spend this.

Apply for free school meals

To apply for free school meals for the below schools, please contact the schools directly.

Bournemouth Christchurch Poole
Avonbourne Boy's Academy Highcliffe Secondary Cornerstone Academy
Avonbourne Girl's Academy Christchurch Junior Heatherlands
Avonwood Primary School The Grange School Merley First School
Bethany Junior Twynham Primary School Old Town First School
Elm Academy Twynham School  
Glenmoor Academy    
Leaf Studio    
Oak Academy    
Queens Park Infants    
St Clement's    
St James' CE Primary School    
St Luke's    
Stourfield infant School    
Stourfield Junior School    
Winton Academy    

If your child's school is not listed above, you can apply for free school meals online.

We’ll tell you whether we can give you free meals within a week. We’ll also send a report to the school to let them know your children have qualified for free school meals.

Children in households with no recourse to public funds

Families with an irregular immigration status have a no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

These groups include, but may not be limited to children of:

  • Zambrano carers
  • families who have no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
  • a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Chen carers
  • families holding a BN(O) passport
  • spousal visa holders
  • work visa holders
  • student visa holders
  • those with no immigration status.

The government have permanently extended eligibility for free school meals to children from all families with NRPF, subject to the income thresholds as follows:

  • £22,700 per annum for families outside London with one child
  • £31,200 per annum for families within London with one child
  • £26,300 per annum for families outside London with two or more children
  • £34,800 per annum for families within London with two or more children

This includes any wider income or support you may be receiving in addition to any earnings from employment. You will need to provide documentary evidence as proof of your income for both yourself and partner (where applicable) – this could be a bank statement, a pay slip or an employment contract.

In addition to these thresholds, families must hold no more than £16,000 in capital and savings.

To apply for free school meals, you will need to complete an application form that includes a self-declaration form to verify eligibility. Please complete one application form per child.

Free school meals during Universal Credit roll-out

Since 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants have continued to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This applies even if their earnings rise above the threshold during that time.

In addition, any pupil gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals until March 2025.

This means between now and 31st March 2025, you do not need to contact us to cancel free school meals, even if you feel your child is no longer eligible.

After March 2025, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary).


If you have any questions or need help, please contact our Free School Meals team.

01202 123 222

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