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Applying for free school meals

Your child will be eligible for free school meals if you (or your partner) are in receipt of any of the following:

  • Universal Credit and net earnings are no more than £7,500 per year (£616.67 in your last assessment period, £1,233.34 over last two assessment periods or £1,850 over last three assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income, as assessed by HMRC, of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit 'run on' - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also receive free school meals.

Once eligible, your child will continue to receive free school meals in primary or secondary school until they have finished their current phase of education i.e. primary (Year 6) or secondary (Year 11).   

From 1 April 2025, if your child moves between primary and secondary school you will need to reapply for free school meals.

Apply for free school meals

Pupil Premium

Your child's school will also receive additional funding if you are in receipt of a qualifying award listed above.  It is therefore important that you claim free school meals and the pupil premium even if your child does not wish to take a school meal or your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and already receives an infant free school meal.

If your child attends an academy

If your child is attending one of the following schools, you will need to contact the school directly to apply for free school meals:

  • St Mary & St Thomas' C.E. Primary School, WA10 2HS
  • Rainhill St Ann's Church of England Primary School, L35 0LQ

Provide information in support of your claim

Upload your claim evidence online

Changes in circumstances

Please contact us if you have a change in your circumstances, for example, your child changes school or you move address, so that we can keep our records up to date.

Contact details

Telephone:01744 676789
Write to:St Helens Borough Council, Revenues and Benefits, PO Box 10592, NOTTINGHAM, NG6 6DP
Email:educationbenefits@sthelens.gov.uk