Free school meals and milk

Free school meals

Who can apply?

You may qualify for free school meals if your child attends a Nottinghamshire County Council School and you receive one of the following benefits.

  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC)) that does not exceed £16,190
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • income-based and Contributions-based JSA and ESA on an equal basis
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after the person stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – during the initial roll-out of the benefit.

Children who receive income support or income related employment support allowance in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals. This situation often applies to post-16 pupils in special schools.

Changing schools

Children transferring between Nottinghamshire schools do not need to reapply. Children will continue to receive free school meals and milk while parents are receiving the qualifying benefit.

If your child is transferring to a school outside of Nottinghamshire you need to contact the relevant local authority.

Universal infant free school meals

All pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools are now entitled to free school meals.

It is important that all parents who receive one of the benefits listed above register for free school meals as this will enable your child's school to claim "pupil premium allocation".

The pupil premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise attainment. This additional funding for schools can help to buy new equipment and resources.

Free milk scheme

Free milk is available for:

  • children under the age of five in school or daycare
  • children receiving free school meals.

Milk is subsidised for all other pupils in primary education and in special schools.

Apply for free school meals and milk

The information needed to register includes:

  • personal details (including national insurance number and date of birth) for you and your partner
  • child’s details in full including their date of birth and the school they attend
  • if eligible for free school meals and/or milk, the start date will normally be within two days of parents contacting us and entitlement being verified. We will also write to confirm the date the child’s free school meals and milk will start.

To apply for free school meals or milk for your child:

If your child attends a school outside of Nottinghamshire (including schools in Nottingham City) you will need to contact the relevant local council.


For further information contact us on 0300 500 80 80.

Information on benefits

GOV.UK has information on the various benefits which entitle your child to free school meals:

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