What’s happening about free school meals?
If a child is entitled to free school meals and their parents or carers have registered with the school, we are supplying vouchers to cover the cost of 20 days’ worth of lunches from Tuesday 24th March through to Monday 4th May.
Parents and carers should receive an email from their school with details of the voucher which they can redeem at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose. Please note the voucher can only be redeemed in store.
Who is eligible for free school meals?
Children may be able to get free school meals if their parents get 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
- The guaranteed 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
- 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 get)
Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.
Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:
- Younger than the compulsory age for starting school
- In full-time education
- If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2022.
You can find further information about free school meal eligibility by visiting: Apply for free school meals.
How do parents register for free school meals?
Each local authority has their own process for managing free school meal applications. All schools within the White Horse Federation fall in one of the following 5 local authorities. Below are the links that will take you to the appropriate web pages where you can read further information and if required start your free school meals application.
Swindon: Free School Meals Information
Wiltshire: Free School Meals Information
Oxfordshire: Free School Meals Information
Reading: Free School Meals Information
Gloucestershire: Free School Meals Information
What happens for parents and carers whose children claim universal free school meals?
Universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) is different to free school meals. UIFSM is available to all children in reception class, year 1, and year 2 in a government-funded school without the need for registering with the local authority. We have not received funding to issue vouchers to children who receive UIFSM. We have only received the funding to issue vouchers to children who are registered with the local authority for free school meals.
If parents are eligible for free school meals, they should register even if they are receiving UIFSM because they will receive additional financial support including vouchers. For more information on how parents can register see our FAQ ‘How do I register for free school meals’.
What happens if parents have not received a voucher?
There could be a number of reasons that parents have not received a free school meal voucher.
- They need to be registered with the local authority. For more information on how to register see our FAQ ‘How do I register for free school meals’.
- The email address on record at the school needs to be up to date. The COVID-19 restrictions means we’re issuing vouchers electronically via email. If the email address we have on record is different to the one they use, then they may not be receiving the communication we sent.
If they’re satisfied that both of these points above are completed, and they’re still experiencing an issue then they should get back in touch and we’ll escalate this as necessary.
How do parents use the voucher?
Parents should receive an email from your school with details of the voucher which they can redeem at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose.
Please note the voucher can only be redeemed in store.
What should parents do if there’s an issue with their voucher?
Vouchers are provided by Sodexo and distributed by the schools to email addresses they have on record. If parents have received their voucher and are having issues with spending it instore at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose, then they should contact Sodexo directly at [email protected]