From September 2014 the new nationwide scheme 'Universal Infant Free School Meals' became available. This means that all children attending school in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will be entitled to free school meals, regardless of income or eligibility for benefits.

How Universal Infant Free School Meals will affect Pupil Premium

When a student is on our Free School Meals register, the school receives extra money for that student which has to be spent only on the education of free school meals students. This extra money is called Pupil Premium and its purpose is to ensure that children from low income families are not at a financial disadvantage during their education as a result of home circumstances. Students don't have to take our meals if they don't want to but, if they are on our Free School Meals register, then they qualify for all sorts of other financial benefits throughout the year.

In 2017/18 financial year, schools will receive £1320 for every primary-aged pupil registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years.

You can apply for free school meals if you receive one of the following:

  •  Income Support
  •  Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  •  Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  •  Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  •  the guaranteed element of State 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 your child is in Reception, years one or two, you will automatically be entitled for free meals under the new 'Universal Infant Free School Meals' criteria. However if you do meet the criteria listed above then you will need to submit an on-line claim in order for your child's school to receive Pupil Premium funding.

If you are unsure about your eligibility for Free School Meals, please call 01384 814988. There will be someone on hand to answer any of your queries. In order for your child to benefit from this extra funding it is important that children are on the register for Free School Meals as soon as possible to release the school funding.

Registering for Free School Meals

If you wish to apply for Free School Meals, please go to:

If you need further information, you can contact the Free School Meals Team by:

Visiting - Dudley Council Plus, Castle Street, Dudley between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am and 12 noon Saturday

Email - freeschoolmeals.benefits@dudley.gov.uk

Telephone -01384 814988

We hope you have found this information useful.

Update of FSM from April 2018

Changes to free school meal eligibility under Universal Credit

The eligibility criteria for free school meals have been changed.

What are the new eligibility criteria?

Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below:

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

I don't currently claim free school meals - what does this mean for me?

If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, submit a claim to your school or local authority. Your school should have a form you can use. The information you provide will be used to check if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and, if you are on Universal Credit, that your earnings do not exceed the threshold. If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods.

If you are eligible, your school will be notified. Your child will receive free school meals and the school will receive extra funding.

I am currently claiming free school meals - what does this mean for me?

Most people won't be affected by the new criteria. If you're currently claiming free school meals, but don't' meet the new criteria, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end in March 2022.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary.

Where can I get more information?

If you need any further information, please speak to a member of school staff or the local authority.

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