1 Is my child eligible?
Free school meals are available from all maintained schools, academies and free schools in West Sussex if you are either a low income family or receive any of the following:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support from National Asylum Support Service (NASS) under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The Guaranteed element of state Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on
- Universal Credit.
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, please continue to register. This will enable your child's school to claim valuable 'pupil premium' funding.
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 are in receipt of any of the benefits specified on Is my child eligible?, you can apply online.Apply online for free school meals
You can also apply by downloading and completing the application form below, returning it by email or post (instructions on form).
Once your application has been successfully processed we will send you a confirmation. We will check your eligibility every three months and notify you and the school your child attends if you are no longer eligible.
3 If your circumstances change
If your circumstances have changed contact us as you may need to make a new application. For example:
- there is a change in the benefits you receive
- your child changes school to a school that is not within West Sussex, in which case case 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 the new school is within West Sussex.