Free school meals

Register for free school meals to help out your school

If your child is eligible for free school meals, it's worth registering them even if they're not going to have the school lunch. This is because schools receive a 'pupil premium' - an extra payment for each eligible child which they can spend on useful services. Registering might also get you extra help for things like music lessons or school trips.

Free school meals are for children who:

  • live in the city of Salford (the area covered by Salford City Council); and
  • go to school (not a day nursery or children's centre)in Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford or Wigan)

If you live outside the city of Salford, but your child goes to a Salford school, contact your local council.

Free meals are not usually available for children who go to independent (private) schools.

Who is entitled to free school meals:

  • registered pupils at primary and secondary free schools, academies and local authority maintained schools(including a sixth form centre attached to a maintained school); and
  • pupils attending maintained nurseries, as long as they are receiving education before and after lunch.

From September 2014 parents of children who are 16 and over, who are attending a further education college or a sixth form centre (not attached to a school), can apply to their child's college for free meals if they get a qualifying income listed below.

Who qualifies?

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Universal 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
  • Where a parent is entitled to Working Tax Credit Run-on, paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • If you get support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Children who receive any of the above benefits in their own right (ie they get payments directly, instead of through a parent or guardian) can also get free school meals.

However, as soon as you stop claiming any of the qualifying benefits listed above, your entitlement to claim free school meals also ends.

Salford residents can apply in the following ways:

Apply online

We now have two online application forms available for parents:

Apply for free school meals

Or if you are an asylum seeker use the:

Asylum seekers application form

Parents can also submit general online enquiries about free school meals by using our contact form.

Members of staff who work at Salford schools can submit enquiries using our Salford schools online enquiry form.

Members of staff who work at schools outside Salford can submit enquiries using our out of area schools enquiry form.

Please be aware that supporting documents can be uploaded with any of the above forms, and that we will be unable to process applications for free school meals unless we have seen the necessary proof that you are entitled to claim.

Apply by telephone

If you are claiming housing benefit and/or council tax reduction which is assessed using one of the qualifying incomes above, for example Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance, then we should be able to process your free school meal applications and renewals over the phone, so please call us to apply.

However, if we are unable to process your application when you call, usually because there is no current housing benefit and/or council tax reduction claim in payment, or the income that entitled you to claim free school meals has been ended on your claim, you will need to apply in person.

Apply in person

If we are unable to confirm your entitlement when you ring, you can also apply for free school meals at Broughton Hub or our Gateway centres:

Staff at these locations should be able to process your free school meals application on a drop in basis.

Documents you will need to produce

If you are applying in person, please be sure to bring documentary proof that you are currently in receipt of any of the above qualifying benefits, or confirmation that you receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (eg IND letter or a NASS letter).

We will be unable to process your application for free school meals unless we have seen the necessary proof that you are entitled to claim.

Need more information?

If you think your child may be entitled to free school meals you can obtain further information from the Department for Education, their school, by using our contact form.

Please remember, it is of benefit to yourself and your child's school to claim your free school meals.

This page was last updated on 21 December 2016

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