Free School Meals

The way in which you apply for Free School Meals has changed. The paper application is no longer in use and parents/carers wishing to apply for Free School Meals will now need to do this online.

Should parents wish to apply for free school meals they must do this by submitting a FSM application form found on the BMBC website (link below).

Parents are advised to contact BMBC on 01226 787787.

Once an application form has been completed and submitted, it is instantly received and is ready to be processed. There is no requirement to print this form and send it to BMBC in the post.

For parents that do not have access to the internet, parents contact BMBC on the above number.

BMBC do not always require an application form to be completed. As the Free School Meals are awarded as part of the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support process, BMBC will make an award of Free School Meals automatically where they can, if they know a child’s school.

Your child will qualify for free school meals if they’re in full-time education and you receive one of the following benefits:

  • income support
  • income based job seekers allowance
  • income related employment and support allowance
  • guarantee element of state pension credit
  • child tax credit with no working tax credit and have an income as assessed by the Inland Revenue that does not exceed £16,190 (subject to change annually)
  • support under Part 1V of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • 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 receive)

Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

Your child won’t qualify for free school meals if you’re receiving working tax credits and disabled working tax credits, except for the 4 week run-on paid after you’ve stopped qualifying for working tax credits.

Changes to free school meal entitlement – universal credit rollout

From April 2018 the criteria used to determine which pupils are eligible for free school meals was updated to reflect the introduction of Universal Credit and the phasing out of other income-based benefits.

Transitional protection as part of Universal Credit rollout

To ensure families are not disadvantaged during this rollout, protection arrangements have been put in place.

This means that:

  • Any child eligible for free school meals on 31 March 2018 will retain their eligibility until the end of the rollout, March 2022 regardless of whether their circumstances change.
  • Any child who becomes eligible during the rollout of universal credit (from 1 April 2018 to March 2022) will retain their eligibility until the end of the rollout, March 2022 regardless of whether their circumstances change.
  • Once the rollout of universal credit is complete, no child will lose their entitlement and will continue to be transitionally protected until the end of their current phase of education.
  • Transitional Protection applies to all children whether eligible through legacy benefits or Universal Credit.

Transitional protection is on an individual child basis and not on a family basis. This means that other children in the family will not automatically be entitled to free school meals. Children must meet the eligibility criteria at the time the application for free school meals is made in order to be entitled.