Free school meals

Who is eligible for free school meals?

A pupil is only eligible to receive a free school meal when a claim for the meal has been made on their behalf, and their eligibility has been verified by the school where they are enrolled or by the local authority.

Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent 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 guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

If you're concerned your child will be treated differently, be assured every child, whether on free meals or paid, is treated equally. For secondary students, schools and colleges use the latest technology to make paying for school meals easy, convenient and private. Watch our video for more information.

How to apply for free school meals (FSM)

To check your child's eligibility for pupil premium or continued free school meals (from Key Stage 2), use the online checking facility.

To complete a check you need the following information for yourself or the person you are checking on behalf of:

  • Your own name, date of birth, and contact details
  • National Insurance number or National Asylum Seekers number
  • Child's name and date of birth
  • School your child is attending or will attend.

Please contact your school or college if you have any queries about free school meals.

Online FSM Application (
Free school meals for students at college or in further education

If your child is in reception to year 11 and receives benefits-related free school meals, you can apply for a free place in the Hampshire holiday activities and food programme (HAF).

If you need help with eligibility questions, call our team on 023 8062 9388 and select option 2