Two women serving food to a girl in a school cafeteria queue

Free school meals – here’s what you need to know

There’s a good chance we’ll be keeping a tighter rein on the pennies these days, and free school meals could help with that.

In fact, it’s a good time to make sure we’re receiving all the benefits we’re entitled to.

Free school meals are worth around £440 a year per child.

In England, we may qualify if we get Universal Credit (and our income is less than £7,400 a year after tax and benefits) or other means-tested benefits.

We might also qualify if we receive any of those benefits and our child is under five but in full-time education.

All children in England and Wales in the first three years of primary will get free school meals anyway, regardless of our income.

In Wales, free school meals will be available for all primary children by 2024.

In Scotland all children in the first five years of school (primaries one to five) are now entitled to free school meals.

In Northern Ireland, we’ll need to be getting certain benefits to qualify for free school meals.

For older children, we’ll need to be receiving Universal Credit (and earn £625 or less a month) or other means-tested benefits.

We can claim free school meals by contacting our council or asking at our child’s school.

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