Important information regarding the provision of free school meals
Some families who have no recourse to public funds may also be eligible for free school meals. Please contact your child’s school for more information and to apply under this extension.
If you do receive free school meal vouchers, find out more about healthy and easy recipe ideas.
Eligibility for free school meals
Primary school children
The Mayor of London has introduced universal free school meals for the 2023/2024 academic year for all primary school children regardless of income.
However, we still need you to apply for free meals if you are receiving tax credits or benefits. This will allow your child’s school to claim important extra funding that will benefit your child.
Schools get extra funding, known as the ‘Pupil Premium’, for every child registered as eligible for a free school meal if their parents are receiving benefits. Schools use this money for activities such as art therapy, booster classes, educational trips, and after-school clubs.
Please note only children entitled to pupil premium funding are entitled to school holiday supermarket vouchers.
School nursery and secondary school children
Parents of children attending school nursery, or a secondary school in Hackney will have to pay for school meals unless they are receiving qualifying benefits.
To qualify, your child must be in school and you must be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- NASS support
- Guarantee element of State Pension
- Child Tax Credit, provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
- Working Tax Credit for the four weeks after employment ends
- Universal Credit, provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400
A child over 16 getting any of these benefits is also eligible to receive free school meals.
Asylum seekers can apply for free school meals if they have a NASS number. NASS numbers are usually 9 digits and in the format of ‘YY/MM/12345’. These numbers can be followed by /001, /002, /003, etc. which identifies each individual member of the family.
You must complete the free school meal application and also email firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy or photo of your Home Office letter that shows your Asylum Support.
If you are yet to receive your NASS number or are in possession of an ARC card please email email@example.com with proof of your ARC card or your Home Office letter that shows your Asylum Support.
Children with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)
Eligibility for free school meals has permanently been extended to all children in households with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), subject to maximum income thresholds.
These groups are:
- Zambrano carers
- families who have no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
- a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Chen carers
- families holding a BN(O) passport
- spousal visa holders
- work visa holders
- student visa holders
- Those with no immigration status
Under the permanent extension of free school meal eligibility to all NRPF groups, the annual household income thresholds for those families able to work are:
- £22,700 for families outside of London with 1 child
- £26,300 for families outside of London with 2 or more children
- £31,200 for families within London with 1 child
- £34,800 for families within London with 2 or more children
In addition to these thresholds, families must hold no more than £16,000 in capital and savings.
You can find detailed government guidance for the permanent extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups on the GOV.UK website.
Please contact your child’s school to apply for free school meals under this category. Do not complete the free school meal application form below.
How to apply
Please apply if your child attends a school in Hackney. If your child attends a school in another local authority, please apply directly to that local authority.
If you are eligible we will send a notification to the school which will organise a free school meal for your child(ren).
If you are not eligible for free school meals or you are waiting for a benefit application to be approved and need food and supplies urgently, please see information about help and support from Hackney Council.