Free school meals

If your child already receives a free school meal please contact your school for further information on how to access this.

If you believe that you are entitled to a free school meal please apply for a free school meal below.

If your child was receiving a free school meal during the last school year there is no need to renew your application as the Government introduced transitional protection for claimants of income related 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, complete the online form below.

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 (not working)
  • Universal Credit (working and net earnings are less than £7,400 per year)*
  • 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

* Please note: To be entitled to claim free school meals (FSM) when working and claiming Universal Credit, the earnings for one period should be no more than £616.67, earnings for the last two periods should be no more than £1,233.34, and the earnings for the last three periods should be no more than £1,850.00. Therefore if your earnings for one, two or three periods are below the upper earnings limits stated, you would be entitled to claim FSM. You will need to upload screen shots of each page of the relevant payment statement(s), especially the page(s) showing any deductions that are being made, with your online application, so we can then determine if you are entitled to claim free school meals. However, if your earnings for one period exceed £616.67, or if your earnings for two periods exceed £1,233.34, or if your earnings for three periods exceed £1,850.00, then you would not qualify to claim FSM.

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

Apply in the following ways:

Apply online

We now have two online application forms available for parents:

If you are claiming any of the qualifying benefits listed above, please use this form:

Apply for income related free school meals

Or if you are an asylum seeker please use this form:

Apply for free school meals as an Asylum Seeker

If you have a general enquiry about free school meals please use our contact FSM form.

Members of staff who work at Salford schools can submit applications and enquiries on behalf of parents using our Salford schools FSM form.

Members of staff who work at schools outside Salford can submit applications and enquiries on behalf of parents using our out of area schools FSM form.

Members of staff who work for Salford City Council can submit applications and enquiries on behalf of parents using this form.

Members of staff from external organisations that support asylum seekers can submit applications and enquiries on behalf of parents using our External organisations FSM form.

Please be aware that photos of supporting documents or screen shots of online accounts 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, or if we can confirm you are entitled by checking on the department for Education FSM eligibility checking service (ECS), then we should be able to process your free school meal applications over the phone, so please call us to apply.

However, if we are unable to process your application when you call, 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 24 March 2020

Rate this page