Free school meals

Your child will qualify for free school meals if they're in full-time education and you receive one of the following benefits:

  • income support
  • income based job seekers allowance
  • income related employment and support allowance
  • guarantee element of state pension credit
  • child tax credit with no working tax credit and have an income as assessed by the Inland Revenue that does not exceed £16,190 (subject to change annually)
  • support under Part 1V of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • universal credit

Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

If you have a child starting school and they have a brother or sister attending the same school who already receives free school meals, you don't need to apply.  Your child will automatically be given free school meals.

Your child won’t qualify for free school meals if you're receiving working tax credits and disabled working tax credits.

Universal infant free school meals

All infant age pupils (Reception/Years 1 and 2) are entitled to receive a free school meal. 

Although infant children will automatically receive a free school meal, we're asking families who have a statutory entitlement to free school meals to complete an application form online so that we can check if the school is entitled to receive Pupil Premium for your child.

The Pupil Premium grant is provided by the government for each eligible child and this money is used to fund valuable support in school.

Even if you don’t want your child to receive a free school meal, we'd ask you to complete the application form so that your child’s school receives as much funding as possible.

Applying for free school meals if you live in Barnsley

If you live in Barnsley and your child goes to school in Barnsley, Bradford, Wakefield or Kirklees, fill in the application for free school meals.

If you live in Barnsley, but your child goes to school in Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield or Leeds, you should apply to the council in the town where your child’s school is situated.

If your child attends Barnsley Academy, you have to apply directly to the school; call them on 01226 284606 for details of how to apply.

Apply for free school meals if you live outside Barnsley

If you live in Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield or Leeds, but your child goes to school in Barnsley, fill in our application for free school meals.

If you live in Bradford, Wakefield or Kirklees, but your child attends school in Barnsley, you should apply to the council offices where you live for your child’s free school meals.

What happens next

When we receive and process your application, we’ll write to you to confirm your entitlement. We’ll send a copy of the letter to your child’s school.

If you've applied for infant free school meals (Reception/Y1 and Y2), we won't write to you to confirm your entitlement as your child will automatically receive a free school meal.

Changes you must tell us about

You must tell us straight away if:

  • your benefits change
  • your child leaves school or moves to another address
  • you move to another address
  • you start work or, if you’re already working, you increase your normal hours, work overtime, or get a pay rise.

You don't need to re-apply for school meals if you move address or your child changes schools - we can change the details on our system and inform schools.  We'll also check your benefit details.

Other benefits you may be entitled to if your child gets free school meals

If your child receives free school meals, they'll qualify for free school milk.

They'll also be entitled to a group instrumental music lesson at a third of the normal price and free hire of an instrument. The lessons have to be provided by Barnsley Music Service.

Data protection

We’ll use the information from your free school meals application form, and any supporting evidence you send us, to process your claim. We’ll not give information about you to anyone else, or use information about you for other purposes, unless the law allows us to.  Please get in touch if you’d like to know what information we have about you or how we use it.