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All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 get a free meal at lunchtime, under the government's Infant Free School Meals scheme. These are provided at all Bury Council maintained schools, academies, free schools, and pupil referral units.

You do not have to apply for these. But if your child is in a key stage 1 year group and you get one of the qualifying incomes shown below it will help the school if you make a claim for free school meals, as they can get extra funding.

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 2025.

If they are still at school on 31 March 2025, 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.

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.

Complete the free school meals change form if:

  • You move address and/or
  • Your child changes school

You must only complete this form if you have previously completed a free school meals application and your circumstances have changed.