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Free School Meals

Parents or carers of children attending a Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council school (not college) can apply for free school meals for their child(ren).


Before you apply

Does your child attend one of the following schools?

Bankfields Primary School

Caedmon Primary School

Dormanstown Primary Academy

Huntcliff School

Kilton Thorpe Specialist Academy

Laurence Jackson School

Mo Mowlam Academy

Sacred Heart Catholic Secondary

Saltburn Primary School


If your child's school is listed above, this means that the school have not signed up for the service to allow us to process applications on their behalf. You will need to speak to the school directly to ask how to apply for free school meals.

Please note as from 1st September 2021 if your child attends one of the following schools, you will need to speak to the school directly to ask how to apply for free school meals.


Saint Bede's Catholic VA Primary School

Saint Gabriel's Catholic Voluntary Primary Academy

Saint Joseph's Catholic Primary School, A Catholic Voluntary Academy

Saint Paulinus Catholic Primary School, A Catholic Voluntary Academy

St Benedict's Catholic Primary School

St Margaret Clitherows RC Primary School

St Mary's Catholic Primary School

St Peter's Catholic College

St Peter's Church of England Primary School

Eligibility 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.


Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parent or carer are in receipt of, one or more of the qualifying benefits below:

  • 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 of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • A 'Run-On' of Working Tax Credit - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

If you or your partner are currently 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 f​ree 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.


How to Apply

If you have not yet been allocated a school place for your child, please wait for confirmation of this place before you apply for free school meals.


You can now apply for Free School Meals online with our digital form.


You do not need to send evidence of your qualifying benefit(s) with your application form. If we need evidence at a later date, we will contact you.


You can also print a copy of the Application for Free School Meals below:

Free School Meals Application Fo​rm

Completed application forms can either be returned to your child's school, emailing to or by returning the form by post to:

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Department of Corporate Resources,
Educational Benefits, Redcar & Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar, Yorkshire, TS10 1RT


If you are unable to apply online or print the form, please contact us on 01642 774774 where a member of the Educational Benefits Team can complete an application form over the telephone with you.


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.

Processing your claim

Your claim will be processed within three working days of receiving a valid application. You will be notified in writing, either by post or email, if your child is entitled and we will also let the school know.


If you are not entitled to free school meals, you will be notified in writing.


How we process your data

When you apply for free school meals, we will 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: 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.


A change of circumstance can be emailed to -

Q: From what date would free school meals be awarded?
Unfortunately current regulations do not allow Free School Meals to be backdated. 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                                    



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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