Free School Meals

Free school meals are not provided automatically for children of junior school age (7-11). However, they can be awarded if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
  • support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit – providing you are NOT entitled to Working Tax Credit and your family’s annual income (as assessed by HMRC) is not more than £16,190 (as at 6 April 2012)
  • Working Tax Credit ‘run-on’ – the payment you may receive for a further four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

If you are receiving Working Tax Credit you are not entitled to free school meals, regardless of your income. The exception is during the four-week ‘run on’ period when you may have stopped qualifying for but are still receiving payment of Working Tax Credit.

Children who receive Income Support or income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance in their own right qualify as well. All pupils who do not qualify for free school meals must be charged the same amount for the same quantity of the same item.

Free school meals are available to eligible children that attend school within Wiltshire, on a full-time basis. This includes nursery children (of compulsory school age) who attend school full-time and sixth form students (but NOT college or Further Education level students). If you live in Wiltshire, but your child attends schools in another Local Authority area (for example Swindon), you should apply via that Local Authority.

Most applications for free school meals, including St Mark’, are processed by Wiltshire Council.

Did you know that registering your child for free school meals means that the school gets extra money?

The Government is giving money to schools to help children from lower income families do their very best. This funding is called a ‘Pupil Premium’.

For every child registered the school gets £1300 (2014-15).

Examples of how this money can be spent include:

  • Purchasing specialist support, audit of provision, developing the vision
  • CPD for key staff
  • Developing a creative curriculum
  • Resources to support inclusion, software focused on specific needs
  • Purchase of technology resources for individuals, existing, new and emerging
  • Developing strategies for engaging children and parents in and out of school
  • Developing collaboration, support or mentoring projects
  • Supporting the work of schools, governors, staff and parents on e-safety
  • Subsidy of school clubs, specialist teachers to promote engagement

How does it work?

If you want your child to have a free, healthy meal at lunchtime that’s great – they will get the free school meal (saving you nearly £400 a year) and the school gets £1300 extra.

If you don’t want your child to have the free school meals they can continue as normal – as long as you qualify and are registered, the school still gets £1300 extra.

Please remember you must qualify and register for the free school meals for the school to receive the extra money even if you do not want your child to have the free school meals.

Please register as soon as possible to make sure your child and others in their class don’t miss out.

Registering for free school meals is confidential, no one will know you have registered and it will not affect any other benefits you are claiming. A free school meals application form can be downloaded below or collected from the school.


The completed form can be returned to your child’s school. They will forward it to us on your behalf.

Or, if you prefer, you can send it direct to:

Free School Meals
Children’s Services
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
BA14 8JN

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