Free school meals
Important notice: If you have a query about school holiday 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).
Free school meals vouchers during school holidays
Food vouchers to the value of £15 per week will be provided for children eligible for free school meals over the 2023/24 holidays, from Easter (2 weeks), Whitsun (1 week), Summer (6 weeks), October (1 week), Christmas (2 weeks) and February (1 week) holidays in 2024. Your child's school will send out these vouchers, not the authority
Please note, this does not include children who receive a free meal under the Universal Free Meal Scheme that is available to all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.
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 - To qualify if you are in receipt of Universal Credit, your net earned income (after taxes and deductions ‘take home pay’) must be below £616 per month under the Universal Credit allowance you receive. This will be confirmed on your latest online Universal Credit statement when you received it. If your net earned income shows above the £616 figure you don’t qualify.
- Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
- Guaranteed Pension Credit (including Child Tax Credit)
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Parent's with No Recourse to Public Funds 'NRTPF' - For parent's with no recourse to public funds, you will need to apply directly at your child's school and must meet the relevant Government set eligibility groups. These can be found on the following link; NRTPF - Eligibility Criteria
Please note - If your child is eligible or becomes eligible for free school meals at any time before 31 March 2023, 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.
Free School Meals Full Privacy Notice
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.
It is really important you read the following before applying:
Mesty Croft Academy and Shenstone Lodge
Please note: If your child attends either Mesty Croft Academy or Shenstone Lodge, do not apply for free school meals from Sandwell Council as you will not qualify. You will need to apply to the school directly.
Please note: If your child is eligible for free school meals after submitting your application form, you may also wish to then register your child with Holiday Activities and Food Sandwell to access free activities during the school holidays.
Contact us about free school meals
PLEASE NOTE: The Education Benefits team only have one member of staff in the office each day who is contactable by the normal telephone line - 0121 569 8186 or 8189.
Alternate contact numbers (only if you are unable to speak to a staff member in the office);
Free school meals enquiry only