Manchester City Council

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Benefits & Support Free school meals

Free school meals are for children who:

  • live in the city of Manchester (the area covered by Manchester City Council); and
  • go to school (not at a day nursery or children's centre) in Greater Manchester (Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford or Wigan).

If you live outside the city of Manchester, but your child goes to a Manchester school, contact your local council.

Free school meals are not usually available for children who go to independent (private) schools.

Free school meals are for:

  • school pupils up to the age of 16; and
  • pupils who go to a school sixth form.

Children who are 16 and over can't get free school meals from Manchester City Council if they go to a further-education college or a sixth-form college. But you can apply to their college for free meals if you get a qualifying income (see below for a list of these).

If you are a school, please see information for schools about free school meals.

Secondary-school clothing grants are no longer available (since 1 April 2015).

How we arrange for free school meals

Who can get free school meals?

You can claim free school meals for a child who lives with you and who you are responsible for (for example, you receive Child Benefit for them) as long as you get one of these qualifying incomes:

  • Income Support; or
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance; or
  • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit); or
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance; or
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC) as long as you are not getting an amount for childcare paid with your CTC, or getting Working Tax Credit. HM Revenue & Customs must also have worked out your household income as £16,190 a year or less. This income limit will be used until April 2017 but may go up in future years; or
  • Universal Credit; or
  • a Working Tax Credit 'run-on' payment for four weeks after stopping work or reducing working hours to under 16 hours a week

You can also claim if you are an asylum seeker.

Free school meals for all 'infants' at school

All children at school in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 get free school meals. But if your child is an 'infant' at school you still need to claim from us if you get one of the qualifying incomes above. This is so that your child is counted for extra money for their school (the pupil premium).

If you don't get a qualifying income, your child will still get free meals if they are in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2. You don't need to claim from us. Contact the school if you would like more details.

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