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Free school meals

Find out how to apply for free school meals for children that attend school in Westminster.

What are free school meals?

Free School Meals is a Government Scheme for pupils who meet the eligibility criteria set out by the Government, enabling access to a free lunch during term. 

You can apply for Free School Meals if you receive any of the following benefits:  

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods) 
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190) 
  • 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 guarantee element of State Pension Credit 

Families whose children are eligible for the government's free school meals  should continue registering through MyWestminster. You must apply to us if your child attends a school in Westminster, even if Westminster is not the local authority that you live in. 

If you receive Working Tax Credit, you will not be entitled to free school meals unless you have: 

  • stopped work in the last four weeks or 
  • reduced your hours to less than 16 hours in the previous four weeks 

Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals. 

If you have any questions about free school meals, please contact your child's school directly.  

Nationally, all children in reception and year 1 or 2 who attend state schools will already be eligible for a free school meal. This can be accessed via your child’s school. If you meet the above criteria, please continue to apply so that your child’s school receives additional funding and you can receive additional holiday benefits for your child. 

Additional benefits of being registered for Free School Meals 

There are significant additional benefits that families receive when they are registered for a Free School Meal, which includes: 

  • access to a place during the holidays where your child participates in enriching activities and receives a meal offer via the Government Holiday and Activity and Food programme 
  • receiving vouchers valued at £3.50 per pupil per day during all holiday periods  
  • schools claim additional funding from the government, known as ‘Pupil Premium’ for every child whose parent or carer receives one of the qualifying benefits. This additional money is used by your school to ensure that children achieve academically and have access to educational and cultural activities. It is worth over £1,000 per pupil for the school your child attends.

Please ask your child’s school for further details about any of these offers. 

Published: 19 April 2021

Last updated: 7 February 2024