Free school meals and help with uniform costs

Information about free school meals and help with uniform costs

Help with school uniform costs

The council does not currently provide help with the cost of school uniform and PE kit.

If you need help with these costs you should ask your child’s school directly.

Free school meals

Children whose parents receive the following may be entitled to free school meals:

  • income support
  • Universal Credit if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household earned income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
  • income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • child tax credit, and have an annual income that does not exceed £16,190 as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. (If you receive working tax credit as well as child tax credit you will not be entitled to free school meals).
  • the guarantee element of state pension credit

If your child is currently eligible for and getting free school meals (up until 31 March 2023), then they will keep this eligibility until they finish their current phase of education, regardless of any income changes.  

This means that if your child is receiving benefit-related free school meals in a primary school, they will keep this eligibility until the end of year 6. If your child is receiving benefit-related free school meals in a secondary school, they will keep this eligibility until they leave secondary education.

From 1 April 2023, the government is expected to set new free school meal guidance.  In the meantime, we encourage all families to chat to their child’s school about eligibility.

Providing free school meals to families with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

The government has permanently extended free school meal eligibility to children in all households with NRPF, subject to maximum income thresholds.

Eligible groups

These groups include, but may not be limited to children of:

  • Zambrano carers
  • families who have NRPF with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
  • a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Chen carers
  • families holding a BN(O) passport
  • spousal visa holders
  • work visa holders
  • student visa holders
  • those with no immigration status

Income thresholds

Under the permanent extension of free school meal eligibility to those with NRPF, the annual household income thresholds for those families able to work are:

  • £31,200 for families within London with 1 child
  • £34,800 for families within London with 2 or more children

How to apply?

You must apply direct to your child’s school, they will inform you of the outcome.

More information

For further advice about free school meal entitlement, please contact your child's school or visit GOV.UK.