Free School Meals

Free school meals eligibility

We ask every family who attends a school in Newham to complete our application form, irrespective of their employment, financial or immigration status. 

This means even if parents/carers are not in receipt of qualifying benefits when they first apply we can hold their application on file and automatically recheck their entitlement every week. This will prevent delay in accessing a free school meal, should you ever become eligible.

Checking a child's eligibility for free school meals: 

  • The responsibility for checking a child’s eligibility for free school meals rests with the child’s school
  • For most schools in Newham the local authority carries out these checks for the school
  • This means unless any school in Newham specifically advises otherwise parents/carers should complete our form
  • Parents/carers of Newham children attending schools outside of the borough must check with their child’s school for the correct application process
  • Children living outside of Newham who attend school in Newham: parents/carers should complete our application form


Your child/ren 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.