Free school meals

As you are aware, the situation regarding Coronavirus and information being received from the Public Health Department is changing daily.  

We are sure you will understand that Wakefield Council has a duty of care to our employees, and we also need to be proactive in terms of minimizing the risk of the virus spreading. 

In order to adhere to guidance from the Public Health Department our service is now operating differently with reduced staffing in the office and the remainder working from home. These working arrangements could have an impact on our service provision.

You can contact the Free School Meals Team by email at

How to claim

You can now apply online with our digital form please see the link below. Please read the whole page before applying. 

Apply Now

You do not need to send evidence of your qualifying benefit(s) with your application form. If we need evidence at a later date, we will contact you.

A word document application for free school meals is available here

There are two free school meals schemes:

Universal Infant Free School Meals

All children attending a state funded infant school in reception class, year 1 or year 2 are automatically entitled to a free school meal regardless of income.

There is no need for you to complete an application form for children in reception class, year 1 or year 2 unless you receive a qualifying benefit.

If you receive a qualifying benefit (listed below) we would urge you to make a formal application as this will allow your child’s school to claim additional funding (pupil premium).

Moving into year 3

Once your child moves into year 3 they will automatically lose their entitlement to UIFSM. If you want your child to continue getting a school meal they will either have to pay or claim for an income-related free school meal.

Pupil Premium

Schools will receive additional funding from the government for each child registered for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years.

Schools can choose how to spend their pupil premium money. You can speak to your child’s school direct to find out how they use this funding. Some schools also offer incentives to encourage parents of eligible children to apply.

Income-Related Free School Meals

Provided your child is attending a state funded school or academy full-time in the Wakefield District they will qualify for income-related free school meals if you receive:-

  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit - as long as you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and you do not get Working Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit

Please be aware that the following benefits do not qualify for Income Related Free School Meals: Contributions based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Contributions based Employment & Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Invalidity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Child Benefit.

Post-16 students

Post-16 students can receive free school meals if they attend a sixth form school or academy within the Wakefield District. This does not however apply to students who attend local Colleges. You should contact the Colleges direct for assistance.

If you are over 18 and still attend school, you can claim for free school meals if you receive Income Support, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income related Employment Support Allowance.

How long will it take to process the claim?

We aim to process applications within 5-10 working days.

Once we have determined the outcome of the application we will advise the school (normally by phone) and you will be issued with a letter.

Schools will ensure this information is treated in the strictest confidence and handled sensitively.

Change of circumstances

You no longer have to reapply once you have submitted your application form as we are able to carry out an audit check from time to time on your eligibility status. However, as soon as your circumstances change, for example, if you start to receive Working Tax Credits or you stop receiving any of the qualifying benefits you must notify us by phone immediately on 01924 305 061. We will then inform your child(ren)’s school.

If your child receives free school meals whilst they are not entitled your child’s school/academy may ask you to pay for meals provided.

We are not informed automatically if your circumstances change so it is your responsibility to notify Free School Meals on 01924 305 061 of any changes.

Backdating your child’s entitlement

Free school meals normally start from the day we receive your application form (provided you are eligible). Applications are not backdated unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Other benefits

If your child is entitled to receive income related free school meals, you may also receive help towards residential trips, school visits or music lessons. You should contact your child’s school for help towards these costs.

School milk scheme

If you have any questions regarding the School Milk Scheme, please contact your child’s school as Free School Meals are unable to deal with any queries.

On the 1 January 2015 The School Food Plan introduced new legislation on milk. From that date it is mandatory for all Primary Schools in England to offer lower fat milk during school hours to all children who want it. School milk is free for all under 5’s and is subsidised for pupils aged 5 or older.
Children who are registered for an income related free school meal (not universal infant free school meal) are entitled to free milk - if you think your child qualifies please check with your child’s school.

Privacy notice

Both your own and your child’s privacy are extremely important to us, so we want you to know exactly what kind of information we collect about you and your child and how we use it.

This is set out in the Privacy notice. Please take the time to read and understand it.

Contact us

Free School Meals

County Hall
Bond Street

01924 305 061