School meals

Universal free school meals

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England are eligible for free school meals.

Please inform your school if you do not wish to receive this offer, otherwise your child will automatically be opted in to the free school meal.

The school meal service offers all primary and special schools with a multi choice menu. Please check with the school for the cost of a school meal.

Means-tested free school meals

Eligibility

You can get free school meals if your child attends a local authority maintained school (not private) and you receive one of the following: 

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)
  • An income-related employment and support allowance
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit) and have an annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that does not exceed the current year’s level
  • the Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after your employment finished, or after you start to work less than 16 hours per week.
  • Universal Credit

Additionally:

  • You, as the parent or guardian, must Receive Child Benefit for the child you are responsible for.
  • Children who receive IS or IBJSA in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.
  • Children who receive “education suitable for children who have not attained compulsory school age” will still need to satisfy the additional requirement of “receiving education both before and after the lunch period”, before being eligible to receive free school meals. 
There are also cases where the parent/guardian whose children may be eligible for free school meals is not on Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction, i.e. where they are not the householder.  This is generally the case where the pupils’ parent/guardian lives in another household.

Apply

You do not need to make a separate claim for free school meals if you are already in receipt or have applied for Housing Benefit or help with your Council Tax.

We will use the information and evidence you have already provided to confirm your entitlement to free school meals.The exception to this is if you live outside the borough and you child goes to an Oldham school. Then you will need to apply through your local council.

You will also need to apply if you are getting any of the other benefits listed above. 

You need to complete an application form and submit it to Access Oldham:

You do not need to re-apply for free school meals every year unless your circumstances change.

Change in circumstance

If your or your child’s circumstances change free school meals may be withdrawn, the most common reasons include:

  • The parent or guardian ceases to receive a qualifying benefit
  • The child leaves school
  • The family move out of the borough
  • The child goes onto packed lunches (long term)
  • The child is absent from school for a long period of time

All changes of circumstance must be reported by the benefit claimant (schools can also report changes of circumstance).

Primary schools and special schools

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England are eligible for free school meals.

Please inform your school if you do not wish to receive this offer, otherwise your child will automatically be opted in to the free school meal.

The school meal service offers all primary and special schools with a multi choice menu. A school meal costs £2.10.

Every effort is made to cater for children with special dietary requirements.

Contact the school directly for information about dietary requirements and paying for school meals.

    Secondary schools

    Each secondary school manages their own lunchtime service, so you will need to contact the school directly for dietary and nutritional information.

    Contact the school for information on how to pay for school meals. 

    Contact

    If you have any queries about free school meals you can contact the Council on: