Free school meals
If you are claiming certain benefits you could save money by claiming free school meals for your child.
All pupils in Year 3 in Swansea will be offered free school meals from September 2023. Swansea Council is working closely with schools to extend the offer to other year groups as soon as possible as we work towards implementing the Welsh Government's commitment for every primary school pupil to receive a free school meal by 2024.
Families of children up to and including Year 3 do not need to apply for the school meal offer as they will be automatically enrolled at their school. However, families on low income may be eligible for other benefits such as school uniform and money off school trips. In order to assess eligibility for this, an application for free school meals can be made here.
Parents who are confirmed eligible for free school meals still need to apply separately for the school uniform grant.
Further information can also be found on the gov.wales/get help with school costs webpage.
Families with children who receive traditional free school meals and are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, may also be entitled to help towards their water bills from Welsh Water .
Children whose parents or carers receive the following support payments are entitled to receive free school meals in schools maintained by the council. The term 'parent' includes someone living in the household as the partner of a child's biological parent.
- Universal Credit if your annualised net earnings are £7400 or less*
- Income Support
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit where total annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty's Revenue and Custom service) is less than £16,190 a year
- Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - this is the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit (usually when their employment ceases or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week). Any other type of Working Tax Credit will not make you entitled to free school meals.
Pupils who receive Income Support or Income based Job Seekers Allowance in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals.
*If you are working and you also get Universal Credit, and want to claim free school meals for your child(ren), you may not know whether your earnings are more than £7,400 a year. When you make your claim for free school meals, your local authority will check your eligibility using the eligibility checking system. In most cases, the eligibility checking system will work out whether your earnings are below £7,400 a year and if you are eligible to claim free school meals for your child(ren).
The process works by looking at a claimant's earnings for up to three assessment periods (AP) (starting with the most recent and working back). This means irregular earnings can be taken into consideration.
In other cases, the local authority will need to ask you to provide proof of earnings and will work out if your earnings are more than £7,400 a year or £616.77 per month (for example £7,400 divided by 12). If your earnings are too high, you will not be able to claim free school meals for your child(ren) (although you can apply again if your earnings should drop).
You can learn more about free school meals on the following website: Free school meals - Welsh Government
For advice on free school meals you can email FreeSchoolMeals@swansea.gov.uk or telephone 01792 635353 between 10.00am and 3.00pm Monday to Friday.
Frequently asked questions for parents following new UC income threshold: Free school meals in Wales: Information for parents and guardians
How to apply for free school meals
The quickest, easiest and cheapest way is to apply online.
Alternatively, please download and complete the form below and then email to FreeSchoolMeals@swansea.gov.uk. You may also supply any supporting evidence via email.
What if my circumstances change?
If you have a change in your personal circumstances that might mean you are no longer entitled to free school meals, you must notify us immediately. Tell us about changes such as:
- starting work and coming off benefits
- if you change to a different benefit
- moving home
- if another of your children starts school for the first time
- if your child changes school mid way through a term
If you do not tell us about changes at the time they happen, you may have to pay us back for any meals taken whilst you were not eligible.
Decided not to apply?
Did you know that the Welsh Government gives an extra grant for every child that is entitled to and claims free school meals. It can be a significant extra bonus for your child's school so we would urge you to make a claim.
School meals offer a healthy option with significant nutritional benefits and recent evidence suggests that having a healthy meal at lunch time can assist in improving a child's performance and concentration during the day.