Manchester City Council

Benefits & Support Free school meals and secondary-school clothing grants

These benefits 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.

Education benefits are not usually available for children who go to independent (private) schools.

Free school meals 

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 if:

  • they are on a post-16 further-education course linked to a further-education college (such as the Manchester College) even if they go to a school site; or
  • they go to a further-education college or a sixth-form college.

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

Secondary-school clothing grants

Secondary-school clothing grants are:

  • for children in Year 7 or Year 10 at secondary school, even if they don't have to wear a uniform.
  • not meant to cover the full cost of school clothing - the grant just helps towards it.
  • only paid once for Year 7 and once for Year 10. We don't pay a second grant if a child changes secondary school during the year.

The grant for 2014/15 is £80 for a year 7 child and £41 for a year 10 child.

If you get a grant, we will pay a full year's amount once we have dealt with your claim, if your child is in Year 7 or 10. If you are already claiming from us, we will pay your grant during the school summer holidays before your child starts Year 7 or Year 10. 

How we arrange for free school meals and pay clothing grants.

Who can get free school meals and secondary-school clothing grants?

You can claim free school meals and a secondary school clothing grant 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 2015 but may go up in future years; or
  • Universal Credit.

You can also get free school meals if you are entitled to 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.

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