Free school meals

Food for thought – Suffolk schools are missing out on £5 million and they need your help!


Universal free school meals became available for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in September 2014. Many families have taken up this offer, because by choosing a lunch for your child/children, it will help you save up to £400 per year per child.

School meals in Suffolk are healthy, tasty, social and fun. They are also traditionally prepared and include a high proportion of locally sourced produce.

Do I still need to register for free school meals for my child?

The answer is YES. There are around 5,000 children and young people in Suffolk who are eligible for a free school meal but not currently claiming one.

Why does this matter?

If the family of a child claims particular benefits (see below), and registers the child/children for free school meals, their school can received extra financial support. It is called the pupil premium, and worth £900 per child. If all the eligible children claimed the free school meals they are entitled to, Suffolk Schools would be £5 million better off.

Is your child eligible?

Your child will be able to get free school meals if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, as long as you do not get a Working Tax Credit  and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenues & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
  • If you are supported under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after your employment finishes or after you start to work less hours per week.

To check if your child is eligible, simply call us on 01473 260989 (Ipswich/Lowestoft and surrounding area) or 01284 758883 (Bury St Edmunds and surrounding area).

If your child attends a school sixth form they may also be eligible for free school meals - please contact the school directly. Students at sixth form colleges or FE colleges will be able to apply to their college to claim free school meals from September 2014.

Got a question about free school meals? Take a look at our FAQ (frequently asked questions) page 

How to apply

To apply for free school meals - access our online application system
If you apply using the online system, you will be sent emails to confirm that we have received your application, and when it has been approved.

You can get a paper application form by:

Once completed you can either hand the form into your child’s school or post it directly to us.

Once we have confirmed if your child is eligible, we will write to you and your child’s school. If we cannot confirm your eligibility we will contact you for qualifying documentation.

If your child is about to start school full-time and you already have an older child receiving a free meal, you do not need to fill in a new application form, just contact us before your younger child starts school full-time.