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Luton Borough Council

Free school meals (FSM)

We request all families with children of school age who are attending a state funded school to apply for free school meals. Only those in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits will be awarded with entitlement.

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If you are in receipt of the following support payments, your child will be entitled to receive free school meals:

  • Universal Credit – from 1 April 2018 provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), that does not exceed £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)

If your child attends a school or Luton Sixth Form College after the age of 16 they will still be able to have free school meals up to the age of 19 (provided you are still eligible).

From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals pupils will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This applies even if they no longer meet the eligibility criteria during that time. This protection will continue until 2023.

Transitional protections are put in place on an individual child basis, not on a family basis. This means that younger children will not automatically become entitled to free school meals simply because their older sibling is in receipt of transitional protections.

All infants in reception, year 1 or year 2 are entitled to free school meals, regardless of the parent/guardians circumstances. This scheme is referred to as universal infant free school meals (UIFSM).

Parents meeting the standard free school meal criteria are still strongly encouraged to apply as the government gives schools additional funding ('pupil premium') for every pupil who successfully registers for free school meals.

The government provides schools with additional funding to support or enhance the learning of pupils who are currently or have been entitled to free school meals. The additional funding received through the Pupil Premium grant can help fund valuable support including extra tuition, additional support staff or providing after school activities.

Pupils do not have to register for pupil premium funding – they just have to make an application for free school meals, students then attract pupil premium funding for their school. Every school should have a system in place for pupils to register for free school meals and should be able to direct parents to the relevant forms, department at their local authority etc.

Free school meals can be considered for children who attend nursery before and after lunch. The child should be accessing early education during a period that includes the lunch period.
For free school meals eligibility queries please contact your child’s nursery directly.

We aim to assess your claim within 5 to 10 working days. On your claim form please provide all current contact information as we may need to contact you for further information regarding your claim.

Please make sure you have the following details before making a claim:

  • national insurance number
  • details of the school your child attends
  • claimants and the child’s personal information
  • list of benefits you receive

Apply for free school meals

If we have informed you that your child or children are not entitled to free school meals and you believe this decision is wrong, please provide evidence which confirms your entitlement within one month from the date of our notification letter.

This should be in the form of a full benefit award letter from Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HMRC or documentary evidence from the Home Office.

For example, your latest Child Tax Credit award letter showing all pages for the current year. Please note documents and letters older than three months are not acceptable.

We can then review your child’s or children’s entitlement to free school meals.

If you have documents to support your free schools meals application, please complete the Free school meals - Documents to support your application form

Please only complete this application form if you are in one of the following categories and would like to apply for free school meals during the temporary extension as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak:

  • a Zambrano carer
  • have the right to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the ECHR
  • receiving support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and are subject to a NRPF condition

Apply for free school meals (NRPF)

Get help with school uniform

If you need help with school uniforms please contact your school directly.

To get free uniform families can visit the Uniform Exchange with items of uniform they don’t need any more. You can swap these for items you do need. Find them upstairs in The Mall, next to the Children’s Centre.


Contact info
Free school meals

Tel: 01582 510346

[email protected]


© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ