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Free school lunch offer for primary school pupils

Find out how we are supporting families in Westminster during the cost of living crisis.

Since January 2023, we have supported families by offering free school lunches to primary school pupils in Westminster.  

The Mayor of London recently announced additional free school lunch funding for all primary-aged children in London starting September 2023. This is in response to cost-of-living-related pressures and is currently confirmed for one academic year.  

The support from the Mayor has meant that from September 2023, Westminster will be able to expand its Free Lunch Offer to reach even more pupils. The expanded offer from Westminster now includes those aged two, three and four years old in PVI and Maintained Nurseries and Key Stage 3 (aged 11 to 14 years old) resident pupils attending Westminster secondary schools. This offer will run until the end of the school year in July 2024.  

Funding is being agreed for the next 18 months (January 2023 to the end of the summer term 2024), but there is an ambition to extend the offer.

The formal decision to expand free school meals for primary pupils was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, 12 December, 

While the scheme means all primary school-aged pupils in Years 3 to 6 will receive a free lunch, families whose children are eligible for the government's Free School Meals should continue registering through MyWestminster. Your child can still access free activities and food over the school holidays as part of the government's Holiday and Activity and Food programme. It also means your school will receive additional funding, known as Pupil Premium.

A free lunch will be provided to pupils if they are: 

  • aged 2, 3 and 4 year olds in PVI and Maintained Nurseries 
  • primary aged attending a school in London 
  • in Years 7, 8 and 9 (KS3), and they are residents attending a Westminster school 
  • eligible for the Government's Free School Meal scheme 

Families are strongly encouraged to apply for Free School, even if their child receives a meal daily through these new offers. 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 ensures that children achieve academically and have access to educational and cultural activities. It is worth over £1,000 per pupil for your child's school. 

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


Frequently asked questions

What type of meal will be offered?

Our aspiration is that every eligible child will receive a healthy hot lunch in line with the government's healthy eating standards. However, we know this will require time for schools and nurseries to mobilise and may not be possible in every setting. Please speak to your child's school for more information on how they will implement the scheme and the available food offer.   

What if I don't want my child to access the Free School Lunch Offer?  

If your child does not need a free lunch because you have sufficient lunch arrangements, please get in touch with your school to let them know that you would like to opt out of the Free School Lunch Offer. This will enable the school to make the best use of the funds by providing other food provisions or directing the money to hardship funds, which schools use to help families and pupils who are most in need. 

Parents and families who would like to support the local community and schools can do so by contacting their child's school directly or donating to our Community Contribution Fund, which was created to give Westminster residents the opportunity to give more to their local community on a voluntary basis. 

Published: 7 December 2022

Last updated: 12 April 2024