Free school meals
Infant Free School Meals
Your child gets free school meals if they’re in:
- reception class
- year 1
- year 2
If you get any of the benefits listed below, your child’s school will get more funding.
Apply online now if you’re entitled. This will ensure your child gets free school meals as they move to Year 3.
Free school meals for children in Year 3 and older
Older children may get free school meals if their parents or carers get any of these benefits:
- Universal Credit - GOV.UK – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
- Income Support - GOV.UK
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) - GOV.UK
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - GOV.UK
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 - GOV.UK
- The Guaranteed element of State Pension Credit -GOV.UK
- Child Tax Credit - GOV.UK only, if your annual household income isn’t over £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs)
- Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
[Anyone who gets Working Tax Credit - GOV.UK won’t get free meals regardless of income]
Children will get free school meals if they meet the criteria and are in school both before and after lunchtime.
In the unfortunate situation where your child is unable to attend school, you can contact their school or academy for advice on free school meals.
Children eligible for free school meals on or after 1 April 2018 will remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2025 even if your circumstances change.
The application process
Our Electronic Checking Service might be able to confirm entitlement. If not, you’ll need to show recent proof that you qualify. Meals cannot be given until eligibility is verified.
Apply online if your child goes to school in East Sussex.
If your child goes to school outside the county or to one of the East Sussex academies listed below, speak to the school about how to apply.
- The Eastbourne Academy
- Ark Blacklands
- Ark Castledown
- Ark Little Ridge
- Hawkes Farm
- High Cliff
- Peacehaven Heights
- Telscombe Cliffs
- White House
Huggg food vouchers for school holidays
Children who are eligible for free school meals can get Huggg food vouchers in the school holidays.
For Christmas 2023, the vouchers that schools issue will be worth £50. Vouchers issued by early years providers and nurseries will be for £65. This is because they have combined the October half-term and Christmas vouchers.
Vouchers that have not been activated by 03 January 2024 will be cancelled. Parents and carers have at least a year to spend activated vouchers.
For more information on Huggg vouchers, see:
If you are having problems with your vouchers, contact Free School Meals:
The Admissions and Transport Team administer free school meals.
Help your family be healthier and happier, by eating well and moving more. See:
Find out what support is available to help with the cost of living:
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