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Free school meals

Your child will be eligible for free school meals if you (or your partner) are in receipt of any of the following:

  • 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 (but not Working Tax Credit) and your annual gross income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) is not more than £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit 'run on' – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit and net earnings, from your last assessment period, is not more than £616.67 per month. (If your household's net earnings change each month then they should not exceed £1,233.34 in the last two consecutive months or £1,850 in the past 3 months).

Once eligible, your child will continue to receive free school meals in primary or secondary school until at least 31 March 2022 and then until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary (Year 6) or secondary (Year 11). After this period, you may need to reapply.

Pupil Premium

Your child’s school will also receive additional funding if you are in receipt of a qualifying award listed above.  It is therefore important that you claim free school meals and the pupil premium even if your child does not wish to take a school meal or your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and already receives an infant free school meal.

If your child is at an academy

If your child is attending one of the following schools you need to contact the school directly to apply for free school meals:

  • St Mary & St Thomas’ C.E. Primary School, WA10 2HS
  • Rainhill St Ann’s Church of England Primary School, L35 0LQ

Changes in circumstances

Please contact us if you have a change in your circumstances, for example your child changes school or you or your partner stop receiving any of qualifying awards listed above.


Contact Details

01744 676666

Write to: St Helens Council, Revenues and Benefits, PO Box 10592, NOTTINGHAM, NG6 6DP
Call in person: Wesley House, Corporation Street, St Helens, WA10 1HF
Email: educationbenefits@sthelens.gov.uk
  • You should live within borough of St Helens. If you live outside the area please contact your local education authority.
  • We will check your eligibility to claim free school meals electronically. You will not normally need to provide supporting evidence.
  • If you qualify we will also notify your child's school.
  • Children at infant or special schools may also be eligible to receive free milk.
  • Children below compulsory school age must attend before and after lunch sessions at a local authority nursery school or nursery class to qualify for free school meals.
  • Young people who receive the above listed awards in their own right are also eligible to apply for free school meals.
  • Foster parents already receive funding and are not eligible to apply for free school meals.

Some two-year-olds in St Helens will be entitled to a free nursery place of up to 15 hours per week. This will depend upon your family circumstances. To find out more please visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/free2