Free school meals
Free school meals are administered by Devon County Council for all Devon maintained schools. We are also responsible through a traded agreement for free school meals with Devon academies.
These pages are designed to keep schools up to date with the latest news and information on free school meals.
13.12.2018 – Free School Meals lists will be sent to all schools the w/c 07.01.2019 in readiness for the School Census on 17.01.2019.
16.04.2018 – Please be aware of some recent changes in Free School Meals legislation which came into force on the 1st April 2018. In response to these changes we have recently published some communication which includes the DfE guidance and a useful FAQ guide, which outlines the main changes. These published documents can be found on the School Communications bulletin today Free School Meals Legislation Changes
08.09.2017 – To apply for Free School Meals please go to the Citizen Portal which is the quickest and easiest way to apply and will result in an instant decision.
04.07.2017 – Please note the latest Free School Meals School Communications bulletin published today Citizen Portal for Free School Meals
- Universal infant free school meals
You will be aware that the Government introduced universal infant free school meals for all key stage 1 pupils from September 2014. All pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England are eligible for Universal Infant Free school meals. This will include academies, free schools, pupil referral units and alternative provisions as well as maintained schools.
Existing entitlements to free school meals for disadvantaged pupils in nursery Classes and at key stages 2-4 will continue as now, based on the existing free school meals eligibility criteria.
- Applying for free school meals
Through the Citizen Portal which is the quickest and easiest way to apply and will result in you getting an instant decision.
- Qualifying benefits
Parents/carers in receipt of the following support payments will be entitled to receive 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 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 as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also allowed to receive free school meals.
Please Note that from 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time. In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals 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 they are earning 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 (i.e. primary or secondary).
The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2023.
- Pupil premium
Pupil premium is additional funding from the government for schools. Student’s eligible – based on the existing free school meals criteria – can attract this funding. Parents and guardians with children in reception, year 1 and year 2 at a Devon school may be asked to complete a free school meal application form to check entitlement.
For further information regarding Pupil premium please visit Pupil premium for schools
We appreciate how important it is that pupils within KS1 are still recorded as eligible for Free School Meals, ensuring Pupil Premium funding is granted.
For further information regarding KS1 Pupil premium for parents please refer to our New starter pupil premium page.
- Free school meal lists
Updated Free School Meal lists are sent to Schools using the Government secure email system Egress, on a termly basis.
The Free School Meal Team will continue to notify you by email of any changes. In order to ensure accurate audit of qualifying Free School Meal students, we recommend that you manually update your Devon County Council Free School Meal list without delay. Please ensure all authorised / cancelled claims are recorded / annotated accordingly.
- Applying for free school meals