Free School Meal Entitlement in
Redcar and Cleveland

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.
Whos eligible?


Children may be able to receive free school meals if their parent/carer receives at least one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • The Guaranteed Element of Pension Credit
  • Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit - during the initial roll-out of the benefit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit Run On paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

Students who receive one of the above in their own right can also get Free School Meals.

You will not be entitled to Free School Meals if you or your partner are entitled to Working Tax Credit on a regular basis.


Does my child qualify?

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

Students over 16

Students attending a school sixth form (attached to a school) are eligible to claim.

Students attending a sixth form colleges or further education colleges are eligible to claim. Please contact your childs college 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

Universal infant free school meals
From September 2014 all children in Key Stage One which includes reception, year one and year two are entitled to a free school meals. Parents who are on benefits and meet the above criteria are still encouraged to apply for additional funding known as Pupil Premium. This funding will help increase your child's attainment as well as being used to fund valuable support within the school

How to Apply
If you meet the criteria you can apply by completing an application form. Application forms can be obtained by:

Completed application forms can either be returned to your child school or sending to - Financial Services Section, Educational Benefits, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, Redcar and Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, Yorkshire, TS10 1YA.
Alternatively you can contact the Educational Benefits Section and an application form can be completed over the phone on 01642 774774.

Free school meals cannot be backdated. They are awarded from the date we receive the application, once eligibility is confirmed.

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.

Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance:
  • 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).

The Guaranteed Element of Pension Credit:
  • Your Pension Credit M1000 Notification Letter.
  • A written statement from The Pension Service confirming your entitlement to State Pension Credit (Guaranteed Credit).

Income Related Employment and Support Allowance:
  • 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 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 are entitled to 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
Email: educationalbenefits@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk

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

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Last updated:
20/11/2017

Assigned review date:
01/09/2018

Page Section:
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Schools & Learning
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