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Free school meals and pupil premium

How much could you save?

All children starting school in the reception class, Year 1 or Year 2  in a state maintained primary school, will get a free meal at school regardless of income.

For children attending a school nursery, junior classes - Years 3 to 6 or a secondary school, parents will have to pay for the 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. 

Pupil Premium

When your child starts school and you meet the eligibility criteria for free school meals as described below, your child’s school can claim the Pupil Premium  funding from the Department of Education to help your child learn, you should apply for this funding by registering to apply online for Pupil Premium within Hackney Citizens Portal in the same way as applying for free school meals.


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:

A child over 16 getting any of these benefits is also eligible to receive free school meals.

Asylum seekers   

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, you must apply by completing an 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.

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, this you can take to the school. We will also send out a notification to the school of your child’s FSM and Pupil Premium eligibility.

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.

Clothing grant at age 11


Your child can get a clothing grant if they are transferring from primary(Year 6 ) to secondary school (Year 7). To qualify, you must be getting one of the benefits below:

How to apply

Apply when you get the secondary school transfer letter/email with an offer from Hackney Learning Trust. Applications should be made before 30 June using the clothing grant form. The clothing grant is still available for Year 7 pupils who have started secondary school from September 2016 and meet the eligibility criteria above.

How is the grant paid?

We pay the grant in £100 vouchers. These can only be exchanged for school clothing.

The Pupil Benefits reception desk on the 2nd floor is open to the public at Hackney Learning Trust, between 10am to 4pm, Monday to Fridays. Contact: 020 820 7000.

Help with home to school travel fares

Your child can get help with tube and/or train fares if they live in Hackney.

How it works

  • Children will get a travel card each term
  • We will pay for the cheapest form of transport from home to school
  • You must live in Hackney to apply
  • If you have been income assessed you must re-apply every year to check that you still qualify
  • You can appeal if you are refused help with travel costs

Children may be entitled to free transport if:

  • they have special educational needs, disability or mobility problems with no school place near their home;
  • they cannot walk to school, even though it is within the normal walking distance of two miles (if aged 5 -7) or three miles (if aged 8 or over);
  • they cannot reasonably be expected to walk a particular route (for example through a park, cemetery or along a towpath) even though the school is within the normal walking distances;
  • they have special educational needs and attend a school where there are no arrangements for boarding at or near the school; or
  • their religion or belief means that the nearest suitable school is outside the distances.

Income assessed parents

Children may also be able to get free transport where they are either eligible for Free School Meals or have parents in receipt of their maximum level of Working Tax Credit, there are not three or more suitable nearer school places, and the school place is 2-6 miles from home.

Secondary school children attending a school on grounds of religion or belief may be able to get free transport where the school is more than two miles and less than 15 miles from home, and there is no suitable alternative school nearer home.

Disabled parents

We will provide free travel to school for primary school children if their parent has a disability that prevents them from taking them to school.

If you get transport assistance as part of your disability living allowance, your child is not entitled to free travel.

Further information

School journey grant

Who is the grant for?

Kench Hill Charity provides this grant to Hackney pupils and students on study visits to Kench Hill Centre during term-time.

More information

Young people (aged 16-19)