Free School Meals - Benefits of receiving and eligibility criteria

Free School Meals - End of year

We have completed our Free School meals end of year report and we expect the letters to be received shortly. If you have more than one child in your household, you may receive separate letters which may come through on different dates. If you do not receive your notification letters by 4 September, please contact the team who will check our system. Please be mindful that during this period we are expecting to receive an increasing volume of calls and emails and there may be a longer than usual wait time for your query to be answered.

Too many children in Coventry are living in food poverty, yet hundreds of children are still not receiving their entitlement to a Free School Meal. One in four children in Coventry is eligible for a Free School Meal. More are taking up their entitlement but there are so many more who could be benefiting.

The benefits of Free School Meals include:

  • You could save more than £450 a year per child
  • It saves time making packed lunches
  • Your child gets a healthy tasty, cooked meal
  • Children achieve more when they’ve had a cooked lunch
  • School gets extra funding to help children in their education (pupil premium- up to
    £1320 a year per child

Free School Meals eligibility

Types of eligibility:

Universal Free School Meals - Reception, Year 1 & 2

Your child will be able to get Free School Meals if they’re in a government-funded school and your child is in:

  • Reception – You can apply as soon as your child’s school place has been confirmed
  • Year 1
  • Year 2

Free School Meals – Year 3 +

Your child will be able to get Free School Meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household earnings must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Any child who becomes eligible for Free School Meals between 1 April 2018 and 31 March  2025 will remain entitled to a Free School Meal regardless of any change in parental income until they finish the phase of education they are in (primary or secondary) as of 31 March 2025.

Free School Meals – No recourse to public funds

Your child will be able to get Free School Meals if you fall into one of the following eligible groups

  • Zambrano carers
  • families who have no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
  • a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Chen carers
  • families holding a BN(O) passport
  • spousal visa holders
  • work visa holders
  • student visa holders
  • those with no immigration status

You will also need to evidence that your annual household income is below

  • £22,700 for families with 1 child
  • £26,300 for families with 2 or more children

In addition to these thresholds, families must hold no more than £16,000 in capital and savings.

Free School Meals

Telephone line is open 11am to 1pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)

Address: Customer Service Centre
3 Upper Precinct

Telephone: 024 7683 3773


Coventry Holiday Activities and Food Programme

If you qualify for free school meals for your child, you are also able to take advantage of free activities during the main school holidays with the Holiday Activities and Food Programme

Find out more