Apply for free school meals

Your child may be eligible for Free School Meals through a variety of different eligibility criteria. Please read the relevant sections for more information.

Types of Free School Meals and eligibility criteria

Universal free school meals - Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

Every child can get free school meals if they’re in a government-funded school and in:

  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2

This is a general right regardless of qualifying benefits.

But your child and their school may be able to get extra help, if you get one of the qualifying benefits in the below section. We encourage all parents to apply for Free School Meals during their Reception Year, so Newcastle City Council can assess whether your child and their school can receive this extra help.

Newcastle City Council operates an Apply Once process for Free School Meals. During your child's academic life you will only ever have to apply once for Free School Meals while they attend a Newcastle school.

Vouchers during holidays are not issued for children who only receive Universal free school meals; if you think you are eligible for free school meals (through the below section) please make an application.

Income related free school meals

Newcastle City Council operates an Apply Once process for Free School Meals. During your child's academic life you will only ever have to apply once for Free School Meals while they attend a Newcastle school.

Your child and their school may be able to get extra help if you receive one of the qualifying benefits below. We encourage all parents to apply for Free School Meals during their Reception Year, so Newcastle City Council can assess whether your child and their school can receive this extra help. Even if your child does not want to take up a cooked meal during the school day, your school can still receive this additional help.

To be eligible for Free School Meals your child must be:

  • in government-funded education full time up to the age of 19,
  • or in a nursery class or nursery school and attending for full days.

You will need to get one of the following benefits:

  • 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’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 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Families with no recourse to public funds

Families who may be eligible include (but are not limited to):

  • Zambrano carers
  • Have the right to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the ECHR
  • Receiving support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 AND are subject to a NRPF condition
  • Chen carers
  • Families holding a BNO passport
  • Spousal visa holders
  • Work via holders
  • Student visa holders
  • Those with no immigration status

To be eligible for free school meals, your family’s annual household income must be no higher than the following:

  • £22,700 for families outside of London with one child
  • £26,300 for families outside of London with two or more children

This includes any wider income or support you may be receiving in addition to any earnings from employment.

You must also have less than £16,000 in savings, including any shares, investments and bank accounts, but not including your home.

If you think you fall into one of these groups please complete the application form (you will need to upload evidence) or email us at admissions.information@newcastle.gov.uk

Newcastle City Council operates an Apply Once process for Free School Meals. During your child's academic life you will only ever have to apply once for Free School Meals while they attend a Newcastle school.

If your application is refused, we will continue to check your details on a weekly basis, unless you tell us to stop. This means we will know if you start to get a qualifying benefit. We will approve your child’s free school meals application and contact you.

You do not need to reapply if your child is moving schools but if you are moving from another local authority please complete the form so we can record your details. You will not receive multiple responses if you apply more than once.

Additional Information

Westgate Hill Primary School

Newcastle City Council are no longer processing free school meals applications for Westgate Hill Primary School. Please speak to the school if you want to make an application.

Schools outside of Newcastle and non-government funded schools

You must apply for Free School Meals through the local authority that the school is based in, e.g. if living in Newcastle but your child goes to a Northumberland School you need to make your Free School Meal application through Northumberland. 

If your child goes to college full-time, you will need to speak to the college directly about how to apply for Free School Meals.

If your child attends a non-government funded school, e.g. a private school, you will not be eligible for Free School Meals

Extra help linked with getting free school meals

Your child may be able to get a free travel permit to get to school if they get free school meals and walk more than two miles to school.

You may be able to get direct help from your child’s school, such as free or reduced prices for out of school clubs and activities, school trips, music lessons, or school uniform.

Your child’s school may be able to get extra funding to spend on more teachers and support staff to help your child in lessons.

Appealing if your application is refused

You can't appeal if you do not receive a qualifying benefit. You also can't appeal to ask for your free school meals to start before the date we processed your application (be backdated).

We check your details using a secure online checking system provided by the Department for Education. This system links with your benefit provider. It does not tell us any information about you or your benefits, just whether the details we entered mean you qualify for free school meals.

If we think the details you gave us on your application may be wrong, for example you made a spelling mistake, we will ask you to check your details again.

If your application is refused but you think you do receive a qualifying benefit, contact us to discuss your claim. You will need to send us proof of benefit.

If your application is refused, we will continue to check your details on a weekly basis, unless you tell us to stop. This means we will know if you start to get a qualifying benefit. We will approve your child’s free school meals application and contact you.

If you change your name please contact us.

Apply for free school meals

 

Apply for No Recourse to Public Funds Free School Meals

 

Processing timescales 

We will write with the outcome of your application within 20 school days if you apply using a paper version of the Free School Meal form. If your child gets free school meals, we will tell you and your child’s school what date they will start.

If you apply through the online portal, you will receive an immediate response to your application. Schools will be informed of your child's Free School Meal application on a weekly basis.

If you have any free school meal queries please contact us at admissions.information@newcastle.gov.uk

How we will keep and use your personal details

We will keep your personal details on our secure computer system and use them to check if your child should get Free School Meals. They may also be used if you apply for free school travel.

We won’t share your personal details with anyone else. We will let your child’s school know the outcome of your Free School Meal application.

You can ask for your details to be changed or deleted. This may mean your child stops getting Free School Meals. We will need to check any new details you give us.

We will keep your details in line with our retention policy. If you have any questions, contact us.

Need more information?

These are our contact details if you need help to apply or need to send us proof of benefit.

Email: admissions.information@newcastle.gov.uk