Manchester City Council

Benefits & support Free school meals: information for schools

Starting and ending free school meals

You can provide free school meals for up to four weeks at your discretion as long as:

  • you have seen proof of the parent's qualifying income; and
  • the parent has given you a completed claim form to send to us; or
  • they have sent you a tear-off slip from the education benefits claim form to show that they have claimed. (Keep the slip for your records).

If you have been providing meals for four weeks and haven't heard from us: contact us for advice. Continue to provide meals for a further four weeks.

If a parent sends the claim form to you instead of us, send the form and their evidence to us, and keep photocopies for your records.  

Ending free school meals

We may write to you and tell you to stop giving a child free school meals because, for example, their parent's benefit has changed, they have moved out of Manchester, or the household income has increased.

You should start charging for meals from the Monday after you get our letter. But if you don't have enough time to arrange this, you can delay the charge for another week.

Restarting free school meals

We may tell you to start free meals again very soon after you have stopped them. This commonly happens if a parent has reclaimed benefit after a break in their claim.

If you get a start-letter and an end-letter at the same time, continue the free school meals and contact us for advice.

You can set up discretionary free meals for up to four weeks if the parent has sent proof of a qualifying benefit or pension. 

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