Free School Meal Entitlement in
Redcar and Cleveland

Important: all enquiries should be made to the local authority where you live.

Is my child eligible for Free School Meals?
Free School Meals are a statutory benefit. The Government does not allow us to recognise any qualifying income other than those mentioned below. If you are not sure, please contact us on 01642 774774 if you live in the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland or your own Local Authority if you live elsewhere.

Free meals are available to any full-time student who is still at school. This includes nursery children who attend full days and also students who attend school sixth form colleges, sixth form colleges and further education colleges

You are entitled to Free School Meals for your children if you receive one of the following:
  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)
  • State Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit), or
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)
  • Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs which does not exceed £16,190.00.
  • Universal Credit (Phased in from April 2013)

You will not be entitled to Free School Meals If you, or your partner, receive any Working Tax Credit on a regular basis.

However, from the 1st May 2009 where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit Run On during the four week period immediately after their employment ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week, their children are entitled to Free School Meals.

Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive Free School Meals.

Universal infant free school meals
From September 2014, all infant age pupils (Reception Year, Year 1 and Year 2) will be entitled to receive a free school meal.

Although infant children will automatically receive a free school meal, we're asking families who think they receive one of the qualifying benefits to still apply so that we can check if the school is entitled to receive Pupil Premium for your child. It may also mean your child will continue to receive free meals after the end of Year 2.

The Pupil Premium grant is provided by the government for each eligible child and this money is used to fund valuable support in school.

Students over 16
If your child attends a school sixth form they may also be eligible for free school meals.

Students at sixth form colleges or further education colleges will be able to claim free meals from September 2014, please call us for further information.

Nursery aged children can receive free school meals if:
  • they are aged three or over;
  • they are receiving a minimum of two and a half hours free nursery provision, both before and after the lunchtime period; and
  • they attend a local authority maintained nursery, not a private one.

How to Apply
You can obtain a Free School Meals application form via:

  • Downloading and printing it.
  • Visiting Customer Services at Redcar & Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, Low Grange District Centre, Normanby Road, Southbank or Belmont House, Rectory Lane, Guisborough.
  • Emailing:
  • Your child's school;

Alternatively you can contact the Educational Benefits Section and an application form can be completed over the phone on 01642 774774.

Download Application Forms:

The form must be filled in by the person who receives the qualifying income.

Parents/Guardians will no longer be required to send a copy of their benefit evidence to support their claim.

We will check your entitlement on the Free School Meals Eligibility Checking Service where data is held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Her Majesty's Revenues and Customs and the Home Office. If the Department of Education's Eligibility Checking Service is unable to confirm that you are entitled to Free School Meals, it will be necessary for us to ask you to provide evidence.

The following are acceptable forms of evidence should it be required: -

Income Support:

  • Income Support notification letter received within the last three months.
  • A written statement from Job Centre Plus confirming your entitlement to Income Support.
Job Seeker's Allowance (Income Based):
  • All the pages of your Jobseekers Allowance award letter, received within the last three months. We need to see the first page and the page that states you receive Job Seeker's Allowance (Income Based).
  • A written statement from Job Centre Plus confirming that you are in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance (Income Based ).
State Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit) :
  • Your Pension Credit M1000 Notification Letter.
  • A written statement from The Pension Service confirming your entitlement to State Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit).
Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related):
  • All the pages of your Employment and Support Allowance award letter, which is not more than three months old. We need to see the first page and the page that states you receive Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
  • A written statement from the Department for Works and Pensions confirming your entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related).
Child Tax Credit:
  • All the pages of your HM Revenue and Customs letter (TC602) showing that you receive Child Tax Credit with an annual income below £16,190.00.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My children all go to different schools - should I fill a separate application form for Free School Meals for each child?
No - please put all your children on the same form even if they go to different schools.

Q: How often do I have to apply?
You should apply when you first require Free School Meals. Your eligibility will be checked every month on the Eligibility Checking Service to confirm your continuing entitlement.

Q: How will the school know my child does not have to pay for school meals?
The schools concerned will be notified by Educational Benefits that your child/children can have a school meal free of charge. Each school makes its own arrangements for notifying the dinner service staff about who is to receive a school meal free of charge.

Q: What if my circumstances change?
You should notify Educational Benefits or the school as soon as possible to tell us of any changes, for example:
  • If you start work and come off benefit
  • If you change address
  • If your child changes school
  • If your child moves address, and is no longer living with you

Q: From what date would Free School Meals be awarded?
Unfortunately current regulations do not allow Free School Meals to be back-dated. Therefore any claim will be awarded from the date the application form is received by the Local Authority provided you receive one of the qualifying incomes from that date. In this case the Local Authority means Educational Benefits, Customer Services or your child's school.

Q: I receive Working Tax Credit would I be entitled to Free School Meals?
No not if you receive Working Tax Credit on a regular basis. However, if you qualify for the Working Tax Credit Run On and then only for four weeks.

How to Contact Us

Tel: (01642) 774774

Financial Services
Educational Benefits,
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council,
Redcar & Cleveland House,
Kirkleatham Street,
TS10 1YA.

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