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Free School Meals

Free school meal payments for all school holidays up to and including February 2023 - More information

From September 2022 children in Reception, will automatically get free school meals. 

All children in Years 1 and 2 will now receive Universal Primary free school meals from Monday 7th November 2022 (after October half-term).

By 2024 all primary school children in state schools in Wales will get free school meals.

If you receive any of the benefits outlined below, you should register for a free school meal as you may be entitled to a PDG Access Grant.

Further information can also be found on the help with school costs webpage.

Free Meal Entitlement Criteria

Free school meals are available to eligible pupils who attend school full-time. This includes:

  • Younger children who attend nursery for full days
  • Sixth form school pupils

 A pupil may be able to get free school meals if their parent or guardian gets any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • to 31 March 2019, Universal Credit (1)
  • from 1 April 2019, Universal Credit - provided your household has an annualised net earned income (2) of no more than £7,400 ( as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

(1) This was done as a temporary measure, pending the development of new eligibility criteria.
(2) Net earned income is defined as household income after taxes and deductions. It does not include income from Universal Credit or other benefits.

Pupils who receive Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance in their own right could also be able to receive free school meals.

By Law no other category of support payment or combination of Tax Credits qualify for free school meals. Similarly, there are no other circumstances that can legally justify the provision of a free meal.  Contribution-based Job Seekers Allowance (CBJSA), Working Tax Credit and Invalidity Benefit do not qualify; also being in receipt of both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit does not qualify.

Child starting school for the first time must complete an application for free school meals, even if they have a sibling at the same school or another school who is already getting free school meals.  Awards will not automatically be made where siblings are in receipt of free school meals.

Please Note: Free School Meal applications will not be backdated.

If you stop receiving qualifying payments, or if you change to another type of support payment you must inform School and Family Support team immediately. Your child may no longer be eligible to receive a free school meal. If you continue to claim free meals to which you are not entitled you will be required to pay for the meals provided and further action may be taken.

Changes from 1st April 2019

Any pupil eligible for free school meals on the 1st April 2019 will have their eligibility protected, and this will apply until the end of the rollout of Universal Credit (currently scheduled for December 2023), regardless of whether their circumstances change. 

Any pupil who becomes eligible under the new criteria during the rollout of Universal Credit (from 1st April 2019 to December 2023) will also retain their eligibility until the end of Universal Credit rollout, regardless of whether their circumstances change. 

Once the rollout of Universal Credit has completed, transitional protection will continue until the protected child comes to the end of their current phase in education i.e. primary/secondary.

How to apply?

Apply Online

Please apply online or download and complete the form below.


  • Free School Meals Application 2022-2023 (DOCX 35 KB)

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    mTitle: Free School Meals Application 2022-2023
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Forms should be returned to:

Schools and Family Support Team,
Civic Centre,
Port Talbot,
SA13 1PJ.

For any further queries, please contact us:
Schools and Family Support Team  on 01639 763515 or email:

Renewal of Free School Meals

If you are already claiming free school meals for your child, for each new school year, this entitlement will automatically follow your child. However, if your child is moving to a new school (i.e. moving from primary to secondary school, commencing Reception or transferring to a school within Neath Port Talbot) a new application will have to be submitted.