What are Free School Meals?

In England a Free School Meal (FSM) is a statutory benefit available to school aged children from families who receive other qualifying benefits. If you are eligible for Free School Meals, your child will not only get a healthy lunch at school but your child can also access The Pupil Premium Grant. This grant means we are able to provide more interventions to accelerate your child’s academic progress, offer more opportunities, as well as implement interventions to develop self-esteem and their social emotional skills.

How do you know if you are entitled to FSM?

Free school meals are provided for children who are attending a school maintained by the BCP Council on a full-time basis. You can claim for any child who you are the parent of according to the definition of parent in the Education Act (1996) i.e. any child whom you have parental responsibility for or is in your care.

  • 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. You must also 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 on or after 1 April 2018, your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

How do I apply?

Applying for FSM is simple and straightforward. If you think you are eligible you can apply by either:

We will usually find out the success of an application within seven working days of receiving the application.


The BCP Council is a data controller for the purpose of the GDPR. This regulation governs how we obtain and use information about individuals. The information you supply is collected for the purpose of providing free school meals, but may be used for wider purposes. When you sign this document, you are consenting to that use. The information may be shared with other service units of the BCP Council, education establishments, or other local authorities.