Free school meals

Free school meals are available to children whose parents or carers receive financial support.

Who can get free school meals?

Your child may 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; 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 specific information about your income or the benefits you receive.

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

The Department for Education sets the eligibility criteria for free school meals.

If you want to apply for more than one child currently attending school, you can add all the details onto one form; you don’t need to apply for them separately.

How do I apply for free school meals?

  • You’ll need your National Insurance number or Asylum Seekers Service number so Dorest Council can make automated checks to confirm your entitlement.
  • You may still have to upload your benefit documents to prove your entitlement.
  • Dorset Council will let you know straight away if you qualify for Free School Meals.
  • Dorest Council will send you a confirmation email shortly after.
  • To apply:

If you require further information regarding your application please contact the Free school meals team

Tel: 01305221090
Full contact details for Free school meals team


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