Free School Meals during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Update on applications for Free School Meals during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and where to find latest guidance.

Last updated: 4 June 2020 (reviewed daily)

As schools are starting to accept more children from 1 June, please note that regardless of whether you choose to send your child into school, if they are eligible for income related free school meals, they will continue to receive a meal or vouchers.

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, we are receiving a very high volume of applications and emails regarding free school meals. We are processing these as quickly as possible and your patience is greatly appreciated. Please read the following information which may answer your enquiry:

You must be in receipt of income related free school meals in order to qualify for a free school meal whilst the schools are closed due to the coronavirus crisis. If you are already in receipt of free school meals, you do not need to apply again as nothing has changed, and your child will remain eligible until March 2024.

If you are in receipt of Universal Infant Free School Meals only, you will not be entitled to a meal during this crisis. If you believe you are eligible for a free school meal due to low income please apply for free schools meals.

If your circumstances have recently changed and you have applied for Universal Credits in recent weeks, please understand that we are unable to process your application until the Department for Education confirms that you are eligible, normally this can take up to six weeks to be received and may take longer due to current circumstances. Be assured we check applications waiting to be confirmed daily and will be in touch as soon as you are eligible for free school meals. We will advise your child's school immediately.

Some schools are providing packed lunches or hot meals instead of the vouchers currently being provided by the government. Please contact your school directly about this, do not contact us, as only your school will be able to advise which option they are offering. Please see the government guidance at GOV.UK.

If you are self-isolating and unable to leave home, you may find the Home But Not Alone volunteer scheme useful to connect you with community volunteers to collect supplies for you. Read more about Home, But Not Alone.

We are all doing our best in very challenging circumstances. Thank you for your patience and understanding.