Free School Meals and Clothing Grants

Free school meals

All P1-P3 children are eligible for free school meals.  In August 2021, free school meals will be introduced for P4 children.  This means a two-course meal will be provided to all children from P1-P4.  Free school meals will then be extended to P5 children from January 2022.  There is no need to complete any paperwork for this benefit.  Information regarding the roll out of free school meals to the remaining primary school year groups (P6-P7) will be provided in 2022.

Children who are eligible for free school meals will be credited with a daily allowance within the cashless catering system used in primary schools and in secondary school the child's NEC card will be credited with a daily allowance.

Clothing grant

A discretionary grant towards the costs of school clothing and footwear can be claimed from P1. The grant is a standard amount per child, but this may vary year to year. Only one clothing grant claim can be made per child for each year (1 April-31 March).

Check your eligibility

You can make a claim for free school meals or a clothing grant if you are receiving any of the following benefits:

• Income Support
• Income-based Job Seekers' Allowance
• Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
• Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit, and your annual income, as assessed by HMRC, is below £16,105,
• Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income below the threshold for receipt of maximum Working Tax Credit, currently set by the Government at £7,500
• Support under Part VI - Immigration & Asylum Act 1999
• Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £625

If you are aged 16-18 years old, you may make a claim for free school meals and clothing grants, in your own right, if you receive any of the benefits that make you eligible.
If you are eligible for an EMA, you can’t apply for a clothing grant but can still request free school meals.

Make an application

If you are eligible and wish to make a new claim, complete an application form (PDF) and return directly, with the evidence requested on the form, to one of our Access Points, or post to the Revenues Section. You can also collect forms from any of our Access Points.

If you received free school means or a clothing grant in session 2020-21 then you do not need to reapply, the Benefits Service will contact you automatically by post. If you have not heard from them by 1 Aug 2021, you can contact the Benefits Service or visit any of our Access Points.

Please note:

• Any claims will not be backdated and will only come into force once the Benefits Service has received the assessed form.
• Free school meals stop when you no longer receive any of the eligible benefits
• If you are in receipt of Tax Credits we will need to see your latest Tax Credit Award Notice
• It is your responsibility to inform the Benefit Service of any change in circumstances affecting Free School Meals/Clothing Grant.

How it is paid

Primary school children who are eligible for free school meals will be issued with meal tickets from the school.Secondary school children will have their NEC card credited. In both cases the schools will be notified.

Clothing grants will be paid by cheque to the parent/guardian who has signed the application form.

When your circumstances change

If your household income changes, the Benefits Service will advise the school who will stop issuing school meal tickets or crediting the NEC card.

Contact Us

Customer Contact Team

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