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Free school meals

Find out if your child qualifies for free school meals.
Children eating free school meals at lunchtime

Free school meals in primary schools

We offer every child in a Newham primary school (including infants and juniors) a free school lunch everyday. Newham is one of only three local authorities in the country to provide a universally free school meal scheme to junior schools, and currently over 15,500 pupils (2017/18) are benefiting from a free school meal who would not have otherwise qualified for a subsided or free meal. This offer is delivered and funded by the Mayor of Newham as part of the May​or's Promise.

Extra funding for your child's school

Even though primary schools offer a free school lunch every day, if you apply for a free school meal - and we agree your application - you can raise £1,300 for your child’s school. This extra money comes from the Government, and in the next school year the amount goes up to £1,320 per child.

Apply for free school meals

Free school meals in secondary schools


Your child may receive free school meals if you get any of the following benefits:
  • 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 guarantee 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 
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child might also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

  • ​younger than the compulsory age for starting school
  • in full-time education

If your child is eligible for free school meals they'll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they're in on 31 March 2022.

Apply for free school meals

Make sure you have your National Insurance number to hand before you fill in the form.
Apply for free school meals
We use your National Insurance number to find out from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) whether or not you qualify for free school meals.
Note, the DWP will only tell us if you qualify. They will not give us any information about the benefits you receive.

School meals evaluation report

The school meals evaluation report​ (PDF) provides an update on the provision of school meals in primary and secondary schools in Newham. The report examines the nutritional value of foods for school aged children which should support their growth and educational achievements at school.

Schools play an important role in providing nutritious food to their pupils and school lunch is a pivotal meal in every child's day.
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