Free school meals

From year 3 onwards free school meals are only available if you get one of the following:

  • Universal Credit - and your earned income is less than £7,400 a year, after tax and not including any benefits
  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, providing you are do not get Working Tax Credit, and your annual gross income is less than £16,190
  • guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

If you get Working Tax Credits you will not be eligible unless you are receiving the four week 'run on' payment after stopping work.

Free school meals are available for pupils at local authority maintained primary and secondary schools, including academies. They are not available for children at private or independent schools.

They are also available for eligible households with:

  • children at local authority maintained nurseries, providing they receive education before and after lunch
  • students aged between 16 and 19 who go to Elms Bank Specialist Arts College sixth form
  • students who receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseekers Allowance in their own right

If your income changes

If you get free school meals and your income increases above the qualifying limits your children will still get free meals until at least 31 March 2023.

If they are still at school on 31 March 2023, free school meals will continue until the end of year 6 if they are at primary school, or the end of year 11 if they are at secondary school.

This protection only covers children included in the original claim. Any younger siblings who start school after your income exceeds the thresholds will not get free school meals.

Apply for free school meals

Please use the form below to apply if you live:

  • in Bury Council's area and your child attends a school either in or outside the borough
  • in Manchester Council's area and your child attends a school in Bury

You will need yours and your partner's National Insurance numbers or National Asylum Support Service numbers.

Apply Here for Free School Meals

When you apply, we will check with the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenues and Customs that you are receiving a qualifying income. If they confirm you are eligible, we will let your child's school know. If we cannot confirm your income we will ask you provide proof of it to us.

There is no need to reclaim free school meals every year. But tell us if:

  • you move address
  • your child changes school