Free school meals and milk

Free school meals entitlement

Children may qualify for free school meals if they attend a Nottinghamshire County Council School and the parent/carer receives one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after the person stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Child Tax Credit (with no Working Tax Credit) with an annual income of no more than £16,190

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).

Registering for free school meals

Register online.

The information needed to register includes:

  • personal details (including national insurance number and date of birth) for the parent/carer
  • 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 working 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.

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 or until the end of transitional protection (31 March 2022).

If parents are unable to apply online they should contact us on 0300 500 80 80

Children moving to/from Nottinghamshire schools

Children moving to a Nottinghamshire school who are covered by transitional protection will still need to apply to us to ensure that their free school meal eligibility is continued. Parents may be required to provide evidence of their transitional protection. For children leaving Nottinghamshire schools who are eligible, we will indicate in the stop letter to parents that their entitlement is covered by transitional protection.

Universal infant meals

All pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools are entitled to receive a school meal. You do not need to register for universal infant meals if you do not receive any of the benefits above”

Parents receiving one of the above benefits should register for free school meals even if their child is in reception, year 1 or year 2 – this will support schools pupil premium allocation.

It is important that all parents who receive one of the benefits listed above register for free school meals as this will enable the child’s school to claim pupil premium allocation.  The pupil premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise attainment. 

Currently the pupil premium allocations are:

  • £1,320 for each eligible primary-aged pupil
  • £935 for each eligible secondary-aged pupil.

Free milk scheme

Free milk is available for:

  • children under the age of five in school or daycare
  • children receiving free school meals. The eligibility criteria for free milk entitlement is exactly the same as for free school meals. Where local authorities or schools provide milk, it must be free to children whose parents are in receipt of the same support payments as for free school meals.

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


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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