Free school meals
Important notice: If you have a query about food vouchers for children who receive free school meals, you must contact your child's school not the Education Benefits team as your child's school are responsible for these arrangements.
Vouchers will only be available to eligible free school meals children. Food vouchers are not available to children receiving a free meal under the Universal Free Meal Scheme (available to all children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 regardless of parental income).
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the Education Benefits Team working from alternative locations due to the restrictions in place, we only have one member of staff in the office each day who is contactable by the normal telephone line - 0121 569 8186 or 8189 until further notice.
Alternate contact numbers (only if you are unable to speak to a staff member in the office);
Free school meals enquiry only
Important - Please read the following statement before applying
Children in Reception, Year 1 & Year 2
If your child was receiving a free meal under the Universal Free Meal (Available to all children in Reception, Year 1 & 2 regardless of parental income) scheme when they were attending school, just before it was closed due to the restrictions put in place, unfortunately you will not qualify for a food voucher. This is only available for pupils whose parents qualify under the Free School Meals criteria, not under the Universal Free Meal scheme.
If your circumstances have changed recently or you think you are eligible, please apply online (below) and one of the team will check your application and confirm to you via email if you are.
Free School Meals - criteria to qualify
Many families in Sandwell could get free school meals but don't claim for them.
Your child may be entitled to free school meals if:
- your annual income is less than £16,190; and
you claim Child Tax Credit (*Not Including Working Tax Credit) only; and
your child is attending a Sandwell School (if your child(ren) doesn't attend a Sandwell School, you will need to apply to the Local Authority which your child(ren) school is in)
*Please note you will not qualify for free school meals if you receive any amount of Working Tax Credit. Before applying please check your latest Tax Credit Awards Notice if you are unsure.
Your child may also qualify for free school meals if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Universal Credit ** if you apply on or after 1 April 2018, your household income must be less than £7,400 a year as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods (after tax and not including any benefits you get) Your net earned income is your household income after taxes and deductions and does not include income from Universal Credit or any other benefits you may receive.
- Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
- Guaranteed Pension Credit (including Child Tax Credit)
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- support from the National Asylum Support Service.
**You may be asked to provide supporting evidence if you receive Universal Credit, for example a copy of your Universal Credit Statement(s)
**Universal Credit will be rolled out in Sandwell from November 2018. For further information on Universal Credit please read the following link 'Get ready for Universal Credit' page.
Please note - If your child is eligible or becomes eligible for free school meals at any time before 31 March 2022, they will remain eligible until this date or beyond dependent on what school phase (see below) they are in. You will not need to apply for Free School Meals again if you are already eligible at a Sandwell School.
Primary - The primary phase is defined as the period Reception to Year 6. It includes both Infants and Juniors.
Secondary - The secondary phase is defined as the period from Year 7 to Year 11.
How to apply for free school meals
The easiest way to apply for free school meals is online, just click on the button below and fill in a few details and we'll get back to you.
Free school meals for infants from September 2014
School meals are free for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Please ask at your child's school about arrangements.