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
- 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 get)
A child over 16 getting any of these benefits is also eligible to receive free school meals.
To qualify for free school meals, you can apply online if you have a NASS number.
How to apply
If your child attends a school in Hackney, the Hackney Citizens Portal is the quickest way to apply and confirm your child's eligibility for free school meals/pupil premium.
After you have completed your application and if you are found eligible we will send a notification to the school.
You only have to apply once for each child. If you are not eligible now we will continue to check your details for future entitlement against information held by the Department for Education.
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.