Free school meals
How to apply
If you already receive housing benefit or council tax support, or have recently applied, you don't have to do anything.
If you don't receive housing benefit or council tax support, you need to apply for free school meals.
If your child is in receipt of free school meals and moves from primary school to secondary school, you do not need to reapply. Their entitlement to free school meals will continue at their new school.
All other children
The same rules apply as for those starting school, or moving school:
- if you already receive housing benefit or council tax support, your income related free school meals will be given automatically and you don’t need to apply
- if you have already applied for help with school uniforms, we will look at the free school meals at the same time and you don’t need to apply separately
- if you don't receive housing benefit or council tax support, you need to apply for free school meals
When your child gets free school meals, your school will also benefit with additional funding to use in the school.
Income related free school meals
Income related free school meals can be given to your child in any year at school.
This includes nursery children if they attend before and after lunch at a local authority nursery school or nursery class.
If you get any of the benefits below, you can claim free school meals.
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance Income based
- Employment Support Allowance Income related
- Support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Guaranteed Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit - as long as your letter shows you have an income of less than £16,190 and do not get Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit - your earned income must be less than £7,400 a year
If your child gets free school meals they may continue until March 2025.
Sixth form colleges
If your child attends any of the sixth forms below, they can get income related free school meals
- Kearsley Academy
- Canon Slade
- Firwood and Rumworth
- Rivington and Blackrod
- Bolton St Catherine's Academy
If the sixth form is not listed above you will need to contact them to get your free school meals.
If you are receiving support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 you must contact Achievement Cohesion and Integration Service (ACIS).
Universal free school meals
Every child in reception, year one and year two can get a universal free school meal.
You do not need to apply for this as your school will give you a form to complete.