All children starting school in the reception class, Year 1, or Year 2 will get a free meal at school regardless of income. This includes academies, free schools, pupil referral units and alternative provision as well as maintained schools. You do not need to apply for free school meals if your child meets the above criteria, however if you are on a low income you should still apply so that your child’s school can claim the Pupil Premium. This is extra money paid direct to schools for each child who is eligible for free school meals due to the household being on a low income. It is used to support your child’s education.
Parents of children attending school nursery junior classes, in Years 3 to 6, or at secondary school, will have to pay for school meals. To qualify for free meals, you must meet the eligibility criteria listed below. If your child qualifies for free school meals you can save up to £10 a week or £390 a year.
It doesn’t matter where you live as long as your child goes to school in Hackney. To qualify, your child must be in school and you must be getting one of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- NASS support
- Guarantee element of State Pension
- Child Tax Credit, with an income of £16,190 or less where the household is not getting Working Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit for the four weeks after employment ends.
A child over 16 getting any of these benefits is also eligible to receive free school meals.
To qualify for free school meals, asylum seekers must provide their:
- IND letter;
- IND card;
- Social services letter; or
- NASS letter.
How to apply
If your child attends a school in Hackney, the Hackney Citizens Portal is the quickest way to apply for free school meals/Pupil Premium and confirm your eligibility.
After you have completed your application you will receive an email to confirm your eligibility. If you qualify, you can take this to the school. We will also send out a notification to the school of your child’s free school meals and Pupil Premium eligibility.
You may also apply by completing a written application form.
You only have to apply once. We will check your entitlement against information held by the Department for Education on a regular basis so that you don’t have to renew your application every year or provide proof of your entitlement.
If your child attends a school in another borough, you will have to make enquiries at the school to find out how you apply for free school meals.