COVID-19: see the latest information about the financial support available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free school meals and clothing grant

Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Free School Meals voucher scheme for kids staying at home

A national voucher scheme has been introduced by the government that will allow children eligible for free school meals to still access that provision while they stay at home - more information on our COVID-19 pages.

If you did not previously qualify for free school meals but your income has reduced or stopped due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may qualify based on your new financial circumstances.

If you qualify for free school meals for your child their school will assist you in providing food for your child. This will apply even if your child is not currently attending school due to closures.

If you believe you now meet the qualifying criteria you should apply straight away.

If your child previously received universal infant free school meals but you did not qualify for benefits-related free school meals your child's school will not be able to assist you.



Who can get free school meals?

Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the following:

  • Universal Credit providing you have net earnings of less than £7,400 a year (£616.67 a month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Guarantee Credit element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Child Tax Credit (providing you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190 as assessed by HMRC)

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Changes to the rules and protected free school meals entitlement

  • From 1 April 2018 free school meals regulations include a net earnings threshold of £7,400.00 for UC claimants
  • Any pupil eligible for free schools meals up to and including the 31 March 2018 will keep their free school meal eligibility until 31 March 2022 even if their financial circumstances change
  • Any pupil who becomes eligible from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2022 will keep their eligibility until 31 March 2022 (this is known as the UC rollout period)
  • Once the rollout of UC is completed any pupil losing free school meal entitlement is protected until the end of their current phase of primary or secondary education
  • Pupils keep their eligibility between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2022 even if the applicant's financial circumstances change
  • Protection applies to the child getting free school meals - not the family. If a sibling is not entitled to free school meals based on the eligibility criteria, protection does not apply (this is also the case where a child moves to live with another parent or family member)

If your child goes to school outside of Haringey, you should apply to the borough the school is in.

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Free school meals for infants and older children

Free school meals for infants

Children in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 who attend a state-funded school are entitled to free school meals (whether their families get qualifying benefits or not) but you should still make an application because if you meet the eligibility criteria the school qualifies for additional Government funding.

If your child is eligible, they will get free school meals until they finish the phase of primary or secondary schooling they are in on 31 March 2022.

Free school meals for older children

Children aged 16-18 who attend a further education funded institution (for example schools with a sixth form, academies, free schools etc.) may also apply for free school meals.

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Clothing grant

If you are eligible for free school meals and your child is transferring to secondary school in September 2020, you can also apply for a one-off clothing grant of £60.

The grant must only be used to buy school clothes or shoes for your child (we may ask to see receipts as proof of purchase). The closing date for applications for children entering year 7 in September 2020 is 31 March 2021.

To qualify for a grant you must live in Haringey and your child’s date of birth must be between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009.

You will need to provide proof of your relationship to the child and the child's date of birth. Please also read these important notes before applying.

Help from the fashion and textile children’s trust

If you are struggling to afford a school uniform for you child/children you may be eligible for a charitable grant if you or your partner work (or recently worked) for a UK fashion or textile company.

To find out if you are eligible and make an enquiry see the fashion and textile children’s trust website (external link).

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How to apply

Apply online via My Account

If you cannot apply online you will need to download, print and complete the Free School Meals and Clothing Grant application form (PDF, 145KB)

If this is your first application you will need to provide proof of your relationship to the child and the child's date of birth. Please also read these important notes before applying.

Returning your form

If your child's school is on the list of self-administering schools send the form to the school. If the form includes a request for a clothing grant you can either:

  • tell the school to email a copy of the form to fsm@haringey.gov.uk or
  • make a separate clothing grant application to us

For all other schools return your completed form to your nearest Customer Service Centre who will process your application while you wait or you can post it to:

  • Corporate and Customer Services | Benefits
    PO Box 10505
    Wood Green
    N22 7WJ

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Proof

We need you to provide proof of your relationship to the child and the child's date of birth, for example:

  • a Child Benefit letter showing your name, the child's name and the child's date of birth
  • a long birth certificate showing your name, the child's name and the child's date of birth
  • a document, in your name, showing you are in receipt of one of the following:
    • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Income related Employment Support Allowance
    • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
    • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
    • Child Tax Credit - if you have a yearly household income of less than £16,190 (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs) and do not get Working Tax Credit
    • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
    • Universal Credit - provided you have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)

If you do not have suitable proof you need to contact us to explain your circumstances and let us know what proof you have. Please also read these important notes before applying.

Applying online

  • You will need to save copies of your proof in the following file formats: JPG or PNG - remember to save them somewhere easy to find on your device
  • You will be prompted to upload your documents as you complete the online form
  • You will need to upload:
    • proof of eligibility
    • proof of your relationship to the child, for each child
    • proof of the child's date of birth, for each child - if your proof of relationship document does not state their date of birth

If you do not have these documents you can still apply online, but you will need to contact us and let us know what proof you have.

If you need help please read the uploading files guidance.

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Important notes

  • You must normally reapply for free school meals every year but will not need to do so until the protection period ends on 31 March 2022. We will write to you and ask you to reapply before the protection period ends.
  • If your child moves to another school you must tell us immediately.
  • If you receive free school meals based on the protection rules a new school may ask you to provide evidence of your entitlement to free school meals from the previous school for free school meals to continue.
  • If your child attends a state nursery school and you wish to apply for free school meals you will need to submit a letter from the nursery to confirm they attend before and after lunchtime.
  • Children who receive Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance in their own right can apply for free school meals.
  • If you are a foster carer or kinship carer money for school meals has been included in your allowance.

Further information

Further information about free school meals is available on GOV.UK (external link).

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Contact details

  • Corporate and Customer Services | Benefits
    P O Box 10505
    Wood Green
    N22 7WJ
  • Tel 020 8489 1000
  • Email fsm@haringey.gov.uk - we accept signed and scanned applications by email.

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Page last updated:

4 September 2020

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