Free school meals

Free school meals are available to pupils in full-time education whose parents/carers receive certain types of benefit or support.

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Does your child qualify for free school meals?

Your child will qualify for free schools meals if you're receiving 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.

Children who recieve a qualifying benefit it their own righ are also entitled to receive free school meals.

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

Apply for free school meals if you live in the Barnsley area

You live in Barnsley and your child goes to school in Barnsley

Fill in the application for free school meals, or go along to The Civic Centre on Eldon Street between 1 and 2pm on Wednesdays, where you can apply in person.  If you can’t get to The Civic at this time, you can apply on other days, but you must make an appointment first.

You live in Barnsley, but your child goes to school in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield or Kirklees

Fill in the application for free school meals, or go along to The Civic Centre on Eldon Street between 1 and 2pm on Wednesdays, where you can apply in person.  If you can’t get to The Civic at this time, you can apply on other days, but you must make an appointment first.

You live in Barnsley, but your child goes to school in Rotherham, Doncaster or Sheffield

You should apply to the council in the town where your child’s school is situated.

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 the Barnsley area

You live in Rotherham, Doncaster or Sheffield, but your child goes to school in Barnsley

Fill in our application for free school meals.

You live in Leeds, 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.

How do I know if my child has been granted free school meals?

If your application is successful, we’ll write to you and to your child’s school to confirm your entitlement and your child’s school meals will be free from the day of your application.

Changes you must tell us about

If your circumstances change, this may affect your claim for free school meals, so 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.

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.

Useful links

Get in touch

Email: cypf@barnsley.gov.uk 
Call: 01226 773513 between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday; 8.30am and 4.30pm Fridays
Write: Scheme of Aid Section, Directorate for Children, Young People and Families,
PO Box 634, BarnsleyS70 9GG

Frequently asked questions 

Do I qualify for free school meals?

To qualify for free school meals you must be in receipt of:

  • income support
  • income based job seekers allowance
  • income related employment support allowance
  • guarantee element of state pension credits
  • child tax credits with no working tax credits and an income (as assessed by Inland Revenue) of less than £16,190
  • support via the Home Office under the National Asylum Support Service

You do not qualify if you are in receipt of working tax credits.

How will I know that my child can have free school meals?
When we receive and process your application, we’ll send you a confirmation of entitlement letter.  We’ll send a copy of this to your child’s school.

Do I qualify for free school milk?
Yes if you are registered as being entitled to receive free school meals.

Do I qualify for free music lessons?
If your child receives free school meals they are 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.

Why has my entitlement ended?
We’ve not been able to confirm your benefit entitlement. You need to re-apply.

Do I need to apply for my child starting school - my other children already get them?

  • No , if your child has a sibling attending the same school entitlement will be given automatically.
  • You will need to apply if your child’s sibling attends a different school.

I've changed schools/address; do I need to re-apply?
No (we change the details on our system and inform schools - we also check benefit details).

Do you backdate claims?

Free school meals are available from the date of application. Only in exceptional circumstances would we backdate a claim, for example, if benefits were awarded retrospectively. You would have to put your request in writing.

I'm in receipt of working tax credit. Can I apply for free school meals?
Parents/carers in receipt of working tax credits are not entitled to free school meals.

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