Schools and education

Free school meals

If you have children up to the age of 19 years in full-time education at a Hillingdon school, they may be eligible for free school meals.

In this section

Please note: All enquiries about free school meals should be directed to your child's school.


Does my child qualify for free school meals?

School meals
Infant free school meals

Your child will be able to get free school meals if they are in a government-funded school and in:

  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2

Year 3 up to 19 years old in a Hillingdon school

You must be receiving 1 of the following benefits to claim free school meals:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of £16,190 or less, as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018, your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you receive)

Children who get paid these benefits directly - instead of through a parent or guardian - can also recieve free school meals.

Your child may also get free school meals if you receive any of these benefits and your child is both:

Please note:

  • If your child is eligible for free school meals, they will remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they're in on Thursday 31 March 2022.
  • Hillingdon Council does not set the qualifying criteria for free school meals and we are unable to waive them. Any change to the criteria is a matter for central (not local) government.
  • If you have a child starting school for the first time and already receive free school meals for other children, you will still need to complete a new application.

Apply for free school meals

To apply for free school meals, you need to apply to your child's school directly. You will need to provide the following details, so your application can be assessed:

  • your National Insurance number / NASS number (can be found on your benefit letters)
  • your date of birth
  • your surname
  • your full address
  • your child(ren)'s details

If you have any questions about applying for free school meals, please contact your child's school directly.


Renewing a claim for free school meals

Your free school meals provider will contact you to confirm entitlement has started.

Your child will continue to receive free school meals for as long as your eligibility can be confirmed. 

Please note: We are unable to backdate claims for free school meals to cover unpaid dinner money, or to refund dinner money paid prior to the date of a successful application.


Changes to your benefit entitlement

Please contact your child's school immediately if your benefit changes or ends, as it may mean you no longer qualify for free school meals. If it is found that you did not notify us that you were no longer entitled to claim free school meals, you will be invoiced for the cost of all school meals taken free to which your child(ren) were not entitled.


Other help

  • Benefit Helpline: 0345 300 3900 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 8am to 4pm)
  • JobCentre Plus: 0800 0556688 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm)
Page last updated: 29 Oct 2021