Free school meals

Free school meal eligibility and how to apply.

1 Is my child eligible?

Free school meals in all West Sussex maintained and free schools and academies are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

A number of pupils will also be protected against losing their current free school meals. You can find more information on GOV.UK.

If you are not eligible for benefits-related, free school meals, but your child is currently in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, they will automatically be entitled to Universal Infant Free School Meals and you need not apply. Contact your school for details.

If you are eligible for benefits-related free school meals in accordance with the above criteria, and your child is also receiving Universal Infant Free School Meals, it is important that you continue to register. This will enable your child's school to claim valuable 'pupil premium' funding. This is additional grant the school can invest in, providing extra support for your child in school.

See GOV.UK for eligibility guidelines for meals for students aged over 16, and speak to their establishment if you are interested in finding out more.

2 How to apply

If you receive any of the benefits specified on Is my child eligible?, you can apply online.

Apply online for free school meals (external link)

You can also apply by downloading and completing the application form below, returning it by email or post. How to do this is supplied on the form.

Once your application has been successfully processed we will send you a confirmation.

3 If your circumstances change

If your circumstances have changed contact us as you may need to make a new application. For example, if your child changes school to a school that is not within West Sussex, you should contact the new local authority and inform West Sussex.

Note: you do not need to re-apply when your child is moving from primary to secondary school or changing schools if their new school is within West Sussex.

4 Contact details

5 Pupil premium grant

If you receive any of these benefits and you apply for free school meals, your child's school will receive a pupil premium grant to support your child's education.

The grant is currently:

  • £1,345 per eligible primary pupil
  • £955 per eligible secondary pupil.

It is paid for up to six years.

6 Holiday Activities and Food programme

Find information about a Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme during the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays for school children aged 4 to 16 who receive benefits-related free school meals.

Holiday Activities and Food programme
Last updated:
4 February 2022
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