Coronavirus: information and updates

Free school meals during coronavirus

Schools are still supporting children who are eligible for free school meals during coronavirus, even if they’re not attending. This includes schools that are only open for certain groups or are closed.

The government has said that free school meals will also be available during the summer holidays this year in England and Wales.

Who can apply

Children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are entitled to free school meals regardless of your household income. Other children may be eligible if you get:

  • 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)

Check if your child is eligible and apply (GOV.UK)

If your child is not eligible for free school meals, there may be other support available to you during coronavirus.

Find support in England (GOV.UK)

Find support in Wales (

Free school meals in England

Schools in England may provide free meals using:

  • an in-house catering team
  • a local authority catering service
  • a private catering service

If the school cannot make food available, you’ll receive an e-code, gift card or e-voucher for a local supermarket to use online or in store.

Free school meal vouchers in England (Edenred)

Free school meals in Wales

In Wales, you may have the option of:

  • a food parcel delivered to your home
  • money transferred to your bank account (BACS payment)

This depends on your child’s school and local authority. 

How councils in Wales are providing free school meals (WalesOnline)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 17/06/2020

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