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Eligibility for free school meals

You may be entitled to apply for free school meals for your children if you receive one of the following income-related benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers' Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit combined with both a household income below £16,190 per annum and not in receipt of any Working Tax Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee Element of state Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit, with annual household earnings of less than £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods (£616.67 per month)

You may also qualify if:

  • you've just started working less than 16 hours a week, or
  • your employment has stopped for a temporary 4-week 'run-on' period

If your school does not sign up for the City of York Council eligibility scheme, the school may require you to apply for free school meals direct to them or to their provider. Please check with school whether their free school applications are made through the council or through the school.

Apply online for free school meals

Note: You're not entitled to apply for free school meals if you receive contributions-based benefits, including contribution-related Job Seekers' Allowance.

The Pupil Premium

If you feel you may meet the low income criteria (as above), you should still apply for free school meals, as schools will benefit from additional funding known as the Pupil Premium.

Universal Infant free school meals

All children are automatically eligible to receive free school meals in:

  • Reception
  • Year 1
  • Year 2

Nursery Children and 6th Form

Nursery children are entitled to free meals if they meet all the following criteria:

  • their parents receive one of the qualifying benefits for free school meals
  • the child receives education before and after the lunch time period
  • the child is in a maintained nursery provision
  • the parents, or another responsible adult, have made a claim for a free meal

These criteria apply whether a child is attending funded or bought hours.

Post-16 students can receive free school meals. You should discuss this with your school or college.

Holiday activities and food

A range of holiday activity schemes will be available for children and young people during the Christmas, Easter and Summer school holidays. The YorOK holiday activities and food web page outlines some of these schemes.

These sessions will include a variety of fun activities, including sports, music, arts, and other exciting opportunities to learn and develop skills, alongside a nutritious meal each day. They are being provided to targeted children as part of the government’s expanded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme which is being delivered across the City of York area.

Also see

Benefits appointments

Contact us for an appointment to get benefits advice in person at West Offices.

Make an appointment

Education Support Services

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 551554

Sign language interpreting service

If you use British Sign Language (BSL) you can access our BSL interpreting service when visiting West Offices, and when contacting us remotely.

BSL Interpreting Service

Free school meals appeal

Get details of York Hungry Minds appeal, raising funds to provide universal free school meals for children in York’s primary schools, helping all children to have the same opportunities to learn and thrive, no matter the circumstances where they grow up.

York Hungry Minds