Apply for free school meals

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 under a temporary extension to free school meal eligibility. Please contact your 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.

Please also be aware of a message from the Department for Education who have warned parents to be wary of scam emails, for example stating that ‘As schools are closing, if you're entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we'll make sure you're supported’. This is a scam email - do not respond, and delete immediately.

Eligibility for free school meals

Reception class, Year 1, and Year 2

All children starting school in the reception class, Year 1, or Year 2 will get a free meal at school regardless of income. This includes academies, free schools, pupil referral units and alternative provision as well as maintained schools.

However, even if your child is in one of these year groups we still need you to apply for free meals if you are receiving benefits. This will allow your 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.

School nursery, junior classes in Years 3 to 6, and secondary school

Parents of children attending school nursery, junior classes in Years 3 to 6, or at secondary school in Hackney will have to pay for school meals, unless they are receiving benefits.

To qualify, your child must be in school and you must be receiving one of the following benefits:

A child over 16 getting any of these benefits is also eligible to receive free school meals.

Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers can apply for free school meals if they have a NASS number.

Children with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

Eligibility for free school meals has temporarily been extended to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

These groups are:

  • children of Zambrano carers
  • children of families with 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
  • children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction

These groups are subject to a maximum household income threshold of £31,500 per year for London.

Temporarily eligibility has also been extended to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This group is not subject to a maximum household income threshold as these families are not able to work.

You can find detailed government guidance for the temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups on the GOV.UK website. Please contact you school to apply for free school meals under this category.

How to apply

Please apply if your child attends a school in Hackney.

If you are found eligible we will send a notification to the school.

If your child attends a school in another local authority, please apply directly to that local authority.


Pupil Benefits

020 8820 7000
This page was last modified on: 15 Dec 2022