Free school meals during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

The government announced that low-income families whose children are eligible for free school meals will be offered vouchers, food or meals to make sure they continue receiving this support. This will be available to all children who currently receive a free school meal, even if they are no longer attending school due to closures related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Can I apply?

If you're already receiving free school meals, you should contact your school. They'll have a list of pupils who are eligible for vouchers, food or meals.

If your child has a free infant school meal because they are in Reception class, Year 1 or Year 2 this entitlement will end during COVID-19. You may still be entitled to a free school meal if you receive certain welfare benefits.

If you're not currently receiving free school meals for your primary or secondary school age children and want to apply, you can either:

  • fill in the free school meals application form on our website
  • call us on (01226) 787787 and select option 3 to speak to an adviser

We're currently receiving a high volume of calls and are processing applications as quickly as possible. 

If we approve your application we'll send your details immediately to your children's school for them to provide either a voucher, food or meals.

The voucher scheme

The government has advised schools that they should offer food vouchers to families who are eligible for free school meals. Each child will be entitled to one £15 voucher per week during term time. The vouchers can't be used for age-restricted products (cigarettes or alcohol).

You'll need to contact your school to find out how to get your vouchers if you're eligible for free school meals.

If your school isn't currently offering vouchers they may be able to prepare meals or food parcels for collection or delivery. 

Schools are practising social distancing, for the safety of staff and pupils. If anyone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus) you should not enter school premises. We'd advise that you ask a relative or friend to collect your food pack or vouchers on your behalf.

Guidance for schools

We've produced this document as guidance for schools about free school meals during COVID-19.