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Free school meals

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Children and young people attending school on a full time basis may be entitled to receive free school meals (FSM).

Your child may be eligible for FSM if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits/support payments:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and their annual income does not exceed £16,190
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit.

Children and young people who receive these benefits or support payments in their own right are also entitled for FSM.

Your child will also need to be attending school full time, which can include full days at nursery and sixth form students. In order for your child to receive FSM, you will need to fill out an application form and send it to the local authority. This form can normally be collected from your child’s school.

Young people attending Further Education Institutions are not eligible for FSM. However, you can contact the institution’s Student Support Officer for information on what support is available to meet the cost of meals.

Factors affecting free school meal uptake

There has been widespread concern that some children and young people might not be taking up their FSM entitlement because of stigma. In partnership with the Welsh Local Government Association, we created a report (external link) which weighs up a number of factors affecting the uptake of FSM and suggests possible solutions.

If you have any queries relating to free school meals, please contact wellbeingshare@wales.gsi.gov.uk.