Free School Meal Entitlement in Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
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.
Children may be able to receive free school meals if their parent/carer receives at least one of the following:
- Universal Credit - with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
- 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
- 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
You will not be entitled to Free School Meals if you or your partner are entitled to Working Tax Credit on a regular basis.
Students who receive one of the above in their own right can also receive Free School Meals.
Nursery children are entitled to free meals if they meet all the following criteria:
- Their parent/carer receive one of the qualifying benefits for free school meals
- The child receives education before and after the lunch time period
- The child is in a maintained nursery or an academy nursey. (Not a private nursery)
Post-16 students can receive free school meals.
- If they attend a sixth form in a Redcar & Cleveland School.
If your child attends a further education college they should apply for free meals by contacting the college directly.
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
From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time
- In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period.
- Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the above eligibility criteria at that point will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary)
Transitional Protection applies to all children whether eligible through legacy benefits or Universal Credit.
Transitional Protections are put in place on an individual child basis, not on a family basis.
This means that younger children will not become entitled to free school meals simply because their older sibling is in receipt of transitional protection. The younger child must meet the eligibility criteria at the time the application is made to become eligible for free school meals.
The Universal Credit rollout is expected to be completed by March 2023.
How to Apply
- If you meet the criteria you can apply by completing an application form. Application forms can be obtained by:
- Downloading – Free School Meals - Application Form
- Visiting Customer Services at Redcar & Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, Low Grange District Centre, Normanby Road, Southbank or Belmont House, Rectory Lane, Guisborough.
- Emailing: email@example.com
- Your child's school
Completed application forms can either be returned to your child school or sending to –
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Department of Corporate Resources,
Educational Benefits, Redcar & Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street
Redcar, Yorkshire, TS10 1RT
Alternatively you can contact the Educational Benefits Section and an application form can be completed over the phone on 01642 774774.
Free school meals claims cannot be backdated. They are awarded from the date we receive the application, once eligibility is confirmed. This is because there is a legal requirement for a request to be made, before a free school meal can be provided.
If you are not entitled to free school meals, you will be notified in writing.
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.
How we process your data
When you apply for free school meals, we'll use and process your information for the purposes of your application, and to help support your child's teaching and learning.
The following are acceptable forms of evidence should it be required: -
- A copy of your Universal Credit award statement (from your most recent assessment period(s) – going back a maximum of three assessment periods).
- 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 or have a change in 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
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
Department of Corporate Resources
Redcar & Cleveland House