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Free school meals

If you're getting certain benefits, you'll be eligible to apply for free school meals for your child.

Eligibility

Children may be able to get free school meals if you get at least one of the following:

  • Universal Credit - your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax, and not including any benefits you get)
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance 
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit 
  • support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit - as long as you're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit, and you have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
  • a 'run-on' of Working Tax Credit (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

If you're currently getting Working Tax Credit, or your partner is getting Working Tax Credit, regardless of your income, you will not qualify for free school meals.

Post-16 students

Post-16 students can get free school meals if they attend a sixth form based in Middlesbrough. If your child attends a further education college, they should apply for free meals by contacting the college directly.

Free school meals for Key Stage One children

All children in Key Stage One (which includes Reception, Year 1, and Year 2) are entitled to free school meals. If you're getting benefits and you meet the eligibility criteria above, your child's school can get extra funding called the Pupil Premium. The school can use this funding to support your child.

Transitional protection (Universal Credit)

From 1 April 2018, everyone getting free school meals will keep getting them while Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if your earnings are above the new threshold during that time.

Any child who becomes eligible for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will also be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit roll out period.

Once Universal Credit is fully in place, anyone who no longer meets the eligibility criteria will still get free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (primary or secondary school).

Transitional protection applies to all children, whether they're eligible through legacy benefits or Universal Credit.

Transitional protections are put in place on an individual child basis, not on a family basis. This means that younger children will not become entitled to free school meals just because their older sibling is getting transitional protection. The younger child must meet the eligibility criteria at the time the application is made to become eligible for free school meals.

The introduction of Universal Credit is expected to be completed by March 2023.

How to claim free school meals

You can claim free school means by:

What happens next

Once we've looked at your claim, we'll send you a letter telling you what we've decided. If you qualify for free school meals, we'll tell your child's school.

Contact us

Emailfsm@middlesbrough.gov.uk
Phone: 01642 726541
Post:
Free School Meals
PO Box 2
Middlesbrough
TS1 2YL

Futures for Families supports young people in Middlesbrough to help them get their future back. Join our team