Free School Meals

Free School Meals

There are now two types of Free School Meals:

  • Free School Meals
  • Universal Infant Free School Meals

Free School Meal training is available for all school staff and beyond to inform and help increase uptake in schools. See our training pages for dates and information.

Free School Meals:

Those who are eligible include families who receive;

  • Income support, or
  • Income-Based Job Seeker's Allowance, or
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • The Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit), or
  • Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, or
  • Child Tax Credit, if you have an annual taxable income (as assessed by H M Revenue and Customs) which does not exceed £16,190

Pupil Premium: In the 2016 to 2017 financial year, schools will receive  funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years. £1,320 for primary-aged pupils, £935 for secondary-aged pupils.

Applying for Free School Meals:

In Leeds there is one form used to claim all 3 benefits: council tax benefits, rent allowance, free school meals. As the incentive to fill in this form is so high, this should encourage families to complete the forms and therefore be automatically eligible for free school meals. The Benefits team inform schools on who is eligible at the start of each term, and give weekly updates. 

The team can be contacted easily so as schools have the most up to date information on their pupils and can clear up any confusing status'. Call the benefits helpline on 0113 222 4404. One Stop Shops are also very useful for supporting families filling out forms and translating.

Visit to find out more.

Universal Infant Free School Meals:

From September 2014 all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England have been eligible to receive a free school meal. Click here for eligible schools, funding information and legislation. The government passed this legislation after a recommendation in the School Food Plan. Recent data has suggested take up of these meals in Leeds is above 87%, which is meeting the national average. Some schools have achieved 100% take up by working closely with pupils, parents and school catering.

School Trips:

If a pupil normally is entitled to a Free School Meal or a Universal Infant Free School Meal, a meal must be provided for them on school trips.

Ideas to increase Free School Meal claims and meal take up:

Click here to download a free resource. 

Leeds School Food Plan Launch February 2014 Universal Free School Meals & School Food Plan Event


Councillor Dowson with School Food Ambassadors from Harehills Primary with the 150 attendees

In February, Leeds City Council held and event in the Civic Hall to infom head teachers, governors and councillors about how Leeds are responding to the new legislation. The event featured expert speakers including the author of The School Food Plan Henry Dimbleby. Check out who else spoke at our event and read the Q&A below:

 Speaker's presentations

 Question & Answers