Free school meals

There are two free school meals schemes.

All pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 classes - universal infant free school meals

All reception, year 1 and year 2 pupils are eligible to receive a free meal at lunchtime, regardless of their parent's income. These are provided at all Bury Council maintained schools, academies, free schools, and pupil referral units. For the school year starting in September 2017 this covers children born between September 2010 and August 2013.

Your child's school will arrange these with you.

Families on low incomes - income related free school meals

Free school meals are available for families who receive one of the following qualifying incomes:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, providing you are do not also 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
  • Universal Credit

(If you receive Working Tax Credits you will not be eligible unless you are receiving a four week 'run on' payment after stopping work)

Free school meals are available for:

  • children attending local authority maintained primary and secondary schools, including academies, (free school meals are not available for children at private schools)
  • children attending local authority maintained nurseries, providing they receive education before and after lunch
  • students aged between 16 and 19 who go to a sixth form attached to St Monica's RC High School or Elms Bank Specialist Arts College
  • students who receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseekers Allowance in their own right

Any child who qualifies for income related free school meals entitles their school to a Pupil Premium payment from the government, of up to £1320 per year. If your child is in the universal free school meals age group, but you also receive one of the qualifying incomes listed above, please consider applying for income related free school meals as well. The Pupil Premium helps your child's school improve the education they provide.

Apply for income related free school meals

Please use this online form if you live in Bury Council's area, and your child attends a school in borough. It will take you about 10 minutes to complete.

Free school meals application form

If you live in Bury Council's area, and your child attends a school outside the borough, we will need you to apply by phone on 0161-253-5858 (lines are open 8.45am to 5pm Monday to Friday).

If you live outside the borough, and your child attends a school in Bury Council's area, please contact your local council to claim income related free school meals.

When you apply using the online form or over the phone, we will check with either the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenues and Customs that you are receiving a qualifying income, during your application. If they confirm you are eligible, we will send an email to your child's school straight away to let them know. If we cannot confirm your income we will ask you provide proof of it to us.

Free school meals will continue as long as you remain eligible. There is no need to reclaim them every year. However please let us know:

  • if your income changes  
  • you move address
  • your child changes school