Covid-19 - Resources to support children’s wellbeing and education for schools, parents and carers

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Free School Meals

Free School Meals

There are now two types of Free School Meals:

  • Free School Meals
  • Universal Infant Free School Meals
  • Free Meals (these can now also be claimed by 14 to 16 year olds in Years 10 and 11 who attend full-time courses based at Further Education Colleges). 

Free School Meal training is available for all school staff and beyond to inform and help increase uptake in schools. See our training pages for dates and information or you can CLICK HERE to book a place directly.

This is a FREE course and ideal for school administration, healthy schools coordinators, learning mentors or any other frontline staff.

Free School Meals:

Those who are eligible include families who receive;

  • Income support, or
  • Income-Based Job Seeker's Allowance, or
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • The Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit), or
  • Support under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, or
  • Child Tax Credit, if you have an annual taxable income (as assessed by H M Revenue and Customs) which does not exceed £16,190

Pupil Premium: In the 2017 to 2018 financial year, schools will receive  funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years. £1,320 for primary-aged pupils, £935 for secondary-aged pupils.

Applying for Free School Meals:

In Leeds there is one form used to claim all 3 benefits: council tax benefits, rent allowance, free school meals. As the incentive to fill in this form is so high, this should encourage families to complete the forms and therefore be automatically eligible for free school meals. The Benefits team inform schools on who is eligible at the start of each term, and give weekly updates. 

To access a claim form please email

The team can be contacted easily so as schools have the most up to date information on their pupils and can clear up any confusing status'. Call the benefits helpline on 0113 222 4404. One Stop Shops are also very useful for supporting families filling out forms and translating.

Visit  to find out more.

Universal Infant Free School Meals:

From September 2014 all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England have been eligible to receive a free school meal. Click here for eligible schools, funding information and legislation. The government passed this legislation after a recommendation in the School Food Plan. Recent data has suggested take up of these meals in Leeds is above 87%, which is meeting the national average. Some schools have achieved 100% take up by working closely with pupils, parents and school catering.

The conservative Government have now reassured schools and families that UIFSM is here to stay as will not be axed as recently suggested. You can read more here:

It is important to maximise take up of UIFSM to ensure pupils and families benefit from the offer. Schools should also seek to ensure a high take up at each school census day in order to maximise funding received. Grant fundinf is currenly set at £2.30 per pupil per day. You can read further information here.

School Trips:

If a pupil normally is entitled to a Free School Meal or a Universal Infant Free School Meal, a meal must be provided for them on school trips. The meal should be balanced and fully compliant with the School Food Standards.

Ideas to increase Free School Meal claims and meal take up:

Click here to download a free resource. 



Covid-19 - Resources

Firstly may we say THANK YOU to everyone who is working hard during this time to keep children and young people happy, learning, laughing, active and calm at this time of great uncertainty!

We are keen to share tools and resources as best we can, to support children’s wellbeing and education over this period of uncertainty. With this in mind, we have produced a range of advice and free resources for schools, as well as resources for parents/carers in your school.

These resources are updated every week so please check them on a regular basis.

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