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Free School Meals


Please find below information on applying for Free School Meals


You can apply for Free School Meals if you receive one of these benefits:

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit), with an annual income of below £16,190

  • Pension Guarantee Credit

  • Employment and Support Allowance, income related support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999

  • Universal Tax Credit


Please note that if you are not in receipt of one of the listed benefits, any application will be refused by Essex County Council.


Universal Infant Free School Meal

All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to receive a free school meal, regardless of income, in line with the Government's Universal Infant Free School Meals initiative. There is no need to make an application to the Local Authority for parents of these children.


Automatic entitlement to a Universal Infant Free School Meal finishes at the end of Year 2 and only children from low income families are eligible from Year 3. Parents should apply for free school meals in the August of the year that their child is entering Year 3, or if your child is Year 4 or older if you believe you meet the low income eligibility criteria.


Making an Application

Applications can be made by visiting: or by telephoning 0345 603 2200