Skip to content

Free School Meals

From September 2014 all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 in state-funded schools in England will receive free school meals. Existing entitlements to free school meals for disadvantaged pupils in nursery classes and at key stages 2-4 will continue as before.

Parent/carers of children who are entitled to any of the following benefits are entitled to free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit only, provided your annual household income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) does not exceed £16,190. Anyone entitled to Working Tax Credits not entitled to free meals regardless of income
  • Working Tax Credit run-on-paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit, if your earned income was £616.67 or less in your last monthly assessment period, or less than an average of £616.67 a month over the last 2 or 3 monthly assessment periods.

Universal Credit

Not all parents who receive Universal Credit are entitled to Free School Meals for their children. It depends on the total income from work and benefits.

If you applied for Universal Credit after 1 April 2018, your income must be less than £7,400 a year, after tax and not including any benefits (or less than £616.66 per calendar month) in order for your children to be eligible for Free School Meals.

If your Universal Credit claim started before 1 April 2018, your children will be entitled to Free School Meals, no matter how high your income is.

The Government rules for Free School Meals give ‘protected entitlement’ until March 2025, or until the end of your child’s current Key Stage. This means that once your child has Free School Meals, they will keep them, even if your income goes up. So, if you change your job or get extra income, don’t worry – you don’t have to tell us and you don’t need to reapply for Free School Meals.


If your child is on roll at:

  • ARK Dickens Primary Academy
  • ARK Ayrton Primary Academy
  • ARK Charter Academy

please contact your school for information on Free School Meal entitlement.

To apply for free school meals, please follow the link to the Portsmouth Education Portal and scroll down to the click to apply button.

Contact Details:


Tel: 023 9283 4092

How Universal Credit may affect free school meals – please click here to view the factsheet on this.


Print this page

Get in touch - tell us what you think

Contact the Portsmouth Send Local Offer to gain help, get more information or to leave feedback about the website.

Get in touch