Free school meals

Coronavirus update

My child is eligible for Free School Meals – can we still get these?

Low-income families whose children are eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) will be offered vouchers or meals at home, even if they are no longer attending school due to coronavirus.

How do I access Free School Meals?

The provision in place may be different from school to school and may include:

  • daily/weekly food packages
  • meals provided by the schools caterer to be delivered to families or collected by parents
  • provision of vouchers that can be redeemed at the following supermarkets:
    • Morrisons
    • Tesco
    • Sainsbury’s
    • Asda
    • Waitrose
    • Marks and Spencer

If your child’s educational setting has signed up for the voucher scheme and you are experiencing difficulties getting to one of the supermarkets listed, please contact the school in the first instance to explain the difficulties you are experiencing. If a solution is not found, contact CustomerServices@northamptonshire.gov.uk as they will be able to raise your query with the correct department.

Please note: Free School Meals will not be provided for those only eligible for Universal Infant Free School meals.

Free school meals scams

Trading Standards are warning parents to ignore emails asking for bank details if their children are entitled to free school meals to “ensure that they are supported”.

This is a scam. Please delete the email.


Free meals are automatically available to all Key Stage 1 (reception, year 1 and year 2) children under the Universal Infant School Meals Scheme. You can apply for free school meals for older children in full-time education up to the age of 18 if you are in receipt of certain benefits.

To find out how to access free school meals, select your child's year group.

​All children in reception, year 1 or year 2 are automatically entitled to free school meals under the Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme.

You will need to find out from the school how to order and access the meals.

Contact your child's school directly if you have any other questions about the Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme.

Pupil Premium - extra support for your child

You can apply for the Pupil Premium which provides your child's school with additional funding to support them.

Please be aware that a child must reside with the applicant to receive the Pupil Premium.

Apply for the Pupil Premium

Does my child qualify for free school meals?

If you are in receipt of any of the following, your child may be eligible for free school meals.

Children in care or children with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Children in care or children with SEN do not automatically qualify for free schools meals. No discretionary services are offered to these children as free schools meals is a means tested scheme. The family will need to meet the eligibility criteria above.

If a child resides in a local authority care home they will not qualify for free school meals. This is because government funding has already been allocated to fund their meals.

How do I apply?

Check your eligibility and apply for free school meals using our online form:

Apply for free school meals

What happens next?

  • Your claim will be sent to the free school meals team for authorisation.
  • The school will be informed within 3 working days when authorisation has been confirmed. You will then need to find out from your school how to order and access the meals.
    Please note, during September and October there is a longer wait for applications to be processed.

How much will the school receive for my child's meal?

  • The school will receive £2.30 towards the cost of your child's meal.

What if my circumstances change?

You need to let us know if there is a change in circumstances which may affect your child receiving free school meals. Please contact the free school meal team if:

  • you stop receiving an eligible benefit
  • you change your address

Email freeschoolmeals@childrenfirstnorthamptonshire.co.uk

Contact the free school meals team

If you require any help or support in checking your eligibility for free school meals, please do not hesitate to get in touch:

freeschoolmeals@childrenfirstnorthamptonshire.co.uk