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​​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.


Who's eligible?

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

  • Universal Credit - (providing you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
  • 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
  • A 'Run-On' of Working Tax Credit - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

If you are currently in receipt of Working Tax Credit, or if you have a partner and they are in receipt of Working Tax Credit, regardless of Income, you will not qualify.


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


Transitional Protection

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 2022.

How to Apply
Application forms can be obtained by:

  • Contacting the Educational Benefits Team who can complete an application form over the telephone on 01642 774774;
  • Completing the Free School Meals application form, which can be downloaded here;
  • 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.

Completed application forms can either be returned to your child's school, emailing to ​or posting to -
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Department of Corporate Resources,
Educational Benefits, Redcar & Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street                                   
Redcar, Yorkshire, TS10 1RT

Free school meals claims cannot be backdated. There is a legal requirement for a request to be made, before a free school meal can be provided.  The date of entitlement is the date that we confirm your eligibility, using the eligibility checking service (ECS) or paperwork supplied.

We are now able to check entitlement to free school meals via a secure government website, which links to your benefit providers. However, if the eligibility checking service (ECS) has not been able to verify your entitlement, we will then need to contact you to provide evidence to show you are currently in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits.

Once your application has been successfully processed we will send you a confirmation.

If you are not entitled, you will be notified in writing.

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.

Find out more how we process your data.


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 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.

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

Educational Benefits

Redcar & Cleveland House

Kirkleatham Street                                    


Yorkshire    ​

TS10 1RT


Redcar & Cleveland House,
Kirkleatham Street, Redcar,
Yorkshire TS10 1RT

you could call our Customer Services Team on 01642 774774 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

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