Free School Meals & Food Bank

Does my child qualify for free school meals?

Your child will be entitled to Free School Meals if you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit with an annual household income of less than £7,400 after tax
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income related) – not Contribution related
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA) – not Contribution based
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit.
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual taxable income (as assessed by HMRC) of less than £16,190, as long as the family is not also in receipt of Working Tax Credit.

If you have recently become unemployed, but are still receiving Working Tax Credits, you may be entitled to free school meals.

During the coronavirus outbreak, the Government are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include children of families who have no recourse to public funds. Therefore, children will also be eligible for free school meals if their legal guardians’ household income is £28,200 or below and they meet one of the following criteria:

  • they are a Zambrano Carer
  • they have the right to remain in the UK under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and are subject to no recourse to public funds
  • they are supported under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (Children in Need)

They may also be eligible if they are supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Name, home address and email address
  • National Insurance Number or National Asylum Support Service (NASS) Reference Number
  • Child's name, date of birth and school they are attending


How do I apply for free school meals?

Please click here to visit the Somerset Council website, where you can find answers to your questions and go through the application system.


Trouble-shooting solutions

Problem:  I do not have a computer

Solution:  If you do not have access to a computer, we will be able to give you a paper application form. Fill this in and return it to us.


Problem:  I need help filling in the form

Solution:  Contact us and we will be able to help you.


Frequently asked questions

Q: When will I know whether my application has been successful?

A: Somerset Council will check your eligibility, let you know and, if you are eligible, tell you how to start receiving free school meals – usually within 10 working days.


Q: Will I need to reapply every year?

A: Yes, you will need to reapply at the end of each academic year for your child to continue receiving Free School Meals.


Q: Who will know that my child receives Free School Meals?

A: Only you and your child’s school will know.


Q: What are the benefits of my child having a Free School Meal?

A: There are many benefits:

  • You will save both money (approximately £400 a year) and time.
  • Research shows that children who eat a healthy, nutritious lunch are able to concentrate and learn more successfully in the afternoon.
  • Sitting down for a lunch time meal helps children learn about social interaction and encourages them to try new foods.
  • Your child’s school will receive additional funding (Pupil Premium)


Q: Will my child get a balanced diet?

A: Yes, the two course menu must meet the government’s school food standards and so healthy meals will be available every day.


Q: My child is not allowed to eat certain foods because of his/her health. How can I make sure they will receive the right food?

A: If your child is entitled to a free school meal, but requires a special medical diet, we can arrange for an appropriate meal to be provided. You must ask your doctor to write a letter explaining which foods must be avoided.


Q: What happens when my child goes on a school trip?

A: Your child will be given a nutritious, packed lunch instead of a school meal.



Details of the school menu are found here.


Food Bank

Fair Frome Food Bank Operates in BA11 and surrounding villages. Food parcels supply food basics for three or more days.

It’s a referral scheme via local support agencies – please first contact Mendip Citizen’s Advice, for assistance with your financial situation and to receive a referral to the food bank. 0344 488 9623 Monday to Friday 10am-4pm.

If you are on Universal Credit, contact Job Centre Plus.

You can also ask your PFPS, social worker, a health professional and in some cases schools can also make referrals.

The food bank is open between 10am-1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

I have been impressed with the communication from school and the speed at replying to queries.