Free School Meals
In April 2018, the criteria used to determine which pupils are eligible for free school meals was updated to reflect the introduction of Universal Credit and the phasing out of other income-based benefits.
Eligibility Criteria for Free School Meals
Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:
- 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)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of state Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
In addition, the following pupils will be protected against loosing their free school meals as follows:
- From 1 April 2019, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time.
- In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1st April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period.
- Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary).
The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2022. New applicants for free school meals on or after 1 April 2018, who are in receipt of Universal Credit and have earnings above the earned income threshold, will not be eligible for free school meals.
Protection for Younger Siblings
Transitional protections are put in place on an individual child basis, not on a family basis. This means that younger children will not become entitled to free school meals simply because their older sibling is in receipt of transitional protections. Extending transitional protections to families would lead to unfairness in the system for those children without older siblings. The younger child must meet the eligibility criteria at the time the application for free school meals is made in order to be entitled to free school meals.
Encouraging Free School Meal Registration
We want to make sure as many eligible pupils as possible are claiming their free school meal. If you think you may be entitled, please click here - https://www.kingston.gov.uk/info/200130/education_schools_and_nurseries/366/free_school_meals
Further benefits that children may be entitled to include a funded After School Club, and possible discounts on music lessons through KMAS.
This applies to lessons both in school hours and at KMAS music centres. More information can be found here.