Free School Meals and Clothing Grants
Free school meals
All children are eligible for free school meals until they reach P4. There is no need to complete any paperwork for this benefit. Once your child reaches P4, they will no longer automatically receive a free school meal but you can make a claim.
Children who are eligible for free school meals will be issued with school meal tickets in primary school and in secondary school their NEC card will be credited with a daily allowance.
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
• Universal Credit
• Child Tax Credit but not Working Tax Credit, and your annual income, as assessed by the Inland Revenue, 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 £6,420
• Support under Part VI - Immigration & Asylum Act 1999
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 do not claim housing benefit or council tax reduction, 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 are eligible and do claim housing benefit or council tax reduction, the Benefits Service will contact you automatically by post. If you have not heard from them by 1 Aug 2017, you can contact the Benefits Service or visit any of our Access Points.
• Any claims will not be backdated and will only come into force once the school has received the assessed form.
• Clothing grant applications can’t be processed during the summer holidays.
• Free school meals stop when you no longer receive any of the eligible benefits
• Proof of benefits is required for assessing your application. A Tax Credit Award Notice is acceptable proof of benefits.
• It is your responsibility to inform the Benefit Service of any change in circumstances affecting FSM/ECG.
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.
Customer Contact Team