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Free School Meals and Pupil Premium

Pupil Premium

Want to help your child’s school receive more money to support their learning?

Did you know that just registering your child for free school meals means that the school gets extra money? Apply now to make sure that the school doesn’t miss out as the Government is giving money to schools to help children from lower income families do their very best. This funding is called Pupil Premium and can be in excess of £1,000 for free school meal claimants and more for Children Looked After. Schools can also claim pupil premium funding for children in service families as well as those those previously looked after children.

The GOV.UK website has information about how much pupil premium funding schools receive, how they should spend it and how they are held to account.

Free School Meals

Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals as follows:

  • Since 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants have continued to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out.  This applies even if their earnings rise above the threshold during that time.
  • In addition, any pupil gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals until March 2025.
  • After March 2025, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary).

A pupil is only eligible to receive a free school meal when a claim for the meal has been made on their behalf and their eligibility, or protected status, has been verified by the school where they are enrolled or by the local authority.

Please note: If you have a younger child starting school in September and you are no longer eligible, they will not be protected because this would be a new claim.

Source: GOV.UK February 2023

Apply for Free School Meals

First, check if you receive any of the benefits listed above (it isn’t just if you are unemployed so please check the list). If you qualify, please continue to apply using one of the following options –  please note the school cannot assess your eligibility or process your claim.

*It must be the person claiming the benefit that applies*


Apply Online: –CLICK HERE TO CLAIM ONLINE Apply via Lancashire County Council’s website –  click the link opposite.
Apply by Phone: –

01772 531809

Please call, even If you have not claimed for free school meals before. A quick call to the Local Area Education Office will let you know.You will need to provide your name, date of birth and national insurance number. They will confirm whether you are entitled immediately over the telephone.
Apply by Post: –South Area Education Office, Level 1, Christ Church Precinct, County Hall, Preston, PR1 8RJ. Download, print and complete the application form on the LCC Website here and send it to

Any queries, contact the number above or email

Changes to your Application/Eligibility

You should always let the Local Area Education Office know if any of your personal details change, and/or

  • you have changed address

If you are moving to Lancashire from another area you’ll need to make a new application. If your eligibility is protected but your circumstances have changed your application may be refused. If this happens contact your area education office to let us know and we will tell the new school and ensure your eligibility is protected.

  • your child has changed schools

If your child is moving to another school in Lancashire, you do not need to reapply for free school meals. Just contact your area education office to let them know. They will tell the new school if your child is eligible for free school meals.

Other Ways You May Be Eligible for Free School Meals

Children who get paid benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

From April 2022, children whose families have No Recourse to Public Funds can get free school meals if their annual income is:

  • Less than £22,700 for families outside London with one child
  • Less than £31,200 for families in London with one child
  • Less than £26,300 for families outside London with two or more children
  • Less than £34,800 for families in London with two or more children

Source: August 2023