We encourage all children to have a healthy and nutritional meal at lunchtime and a snack during morning break.
Research shows that children who have a nutritionally balanced meal (rather than one that has too much sugar and fat) are better able to concentrate in lessons.
We also encourage children to keep hydrated during the school day, preferably with water or other drinks without additives or added sugar.
All meals prepared at a maintained school must comply with the government Standards for school food in England.
Free school meals
Get the latest information about the free school meals holiday voucher scheme.
All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 at state schools in England automatically get free school meals. However, parents and guardians are encouraged to apply for free school meals when they enrol their child in school, as this can help their child’s school to attract additional ‘pupil premium‘ funding to support learning.
From year 3 onwards, children whose parents are getting any of the following are entitled to free school meals:
- Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods).
- Income Support (IS).
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA).
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IRESA).
- The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit.
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
- Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income that does not exceed £16,190).
- Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment you get for a further 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit).
School children living on their own (16-19 year olds) who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right can also get free school meals.
How to apply
Apply through the Devon Citizens Portal. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply and will result in you getting an instant decision. Alternatively, call the Education Helpline on 0345 155 1019.
Please note that applications at the following schools should be made direct to the school:
- Bassetts Farm Primary School
- Chestnut Nursery
- Montgomery Primary School
- West Exe Nursery School
- Wynstream School
Devon also administers free school meals applications for Plymstock School and Coombe Dean School. If your child attends one of these schools, you should apply through the Citizens Portal.
Please note that from 1 April 2018, all children currently getting free school meals will continue to do so while Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their parents’ earnings rise above the new threshold during that time. In addition, any child who becomes eligible for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing these during the Universal Credit rollout period.
Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because their earnings are above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (such as primary or secondary).
The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2025.
No recourse to public funds (NRPF)
Eligibility for free school meals has been permanently extended to children from all families with NRPF, subject to the following maximum income thresholds:
- £22,700 per annum for families outside London with one child
- £26,300 per annum for families outside London with two or more children
These groups include:
- children of Zambrano carers
- NRPF families with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- NRPF families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989
- a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Chen carers or families holding a BN(O) passport
- spousal visa holders
- work visa holders
- student visa holders
- those with no immigration status
If you think you may be eligible, please complete the application form for free school meals from families with NRPF and return it to us with the relevant supporting documents for both the immigration category and income. Your child’s school may be able to assist with the completion of the form.
Any applications submitted without supporting documents will be refused.
Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme
The aim of the HAF programme is to support children to eat more healthily, be more active over the school holidays and have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition as well as be more engaged with school and other local services.
Healthy Start Programme
If you have children under four years old, or are pregnant, and you or your family receive qualifying benefits, you may be eligible for free food and vitamin vouchers from the Healthy Start programme.
Healthy Start is a programme to help families with young children get free food vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins for under 4’s (vitamin A, C and D) and vitamins if you are pregnant (folic acid and vitamin C and D). Because we’re indoors a lot of the time at the moment, we might not be getting enough vitamin D from sunshine so a vitamin D supplement will help.
Applying is easy: you can apply online, or by phone or email if you receive Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Pension Credit (which includes the child addition).
Once you are registered, food vouchers are posted to you every 4 weeks and vitamin coupons every 8 weeks.
To make things easier at the moment, vitamins are currently being posted to families – please ask your midwife or Children’s Centre for more information, or text your health visitor on 07520 631721.