Free school meals

Free school meals in Sunderland

If you are a parent in receipt of any of the benefits listed below, then your child is likely to be eligible for free school meals. It's quick and easy to apply online on our Family Portal.

Your child might be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • 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 -  your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Please apply if you get any of these benefits, even if your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 and is in receipt of Universal Free School meals. Your child’s school also can get extra funding if you do.

If you aren’t sure if you are eligible, please ring 0191 561 1417 or email: and one of our team will be able to help you.

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

These groups are:

  • children of Zambrano carers
  • children of families with NRPF with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a NRPF restriction

These groups are also subject to a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum.

We are also temporarily extending eligibility to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This group is not subject to a maximum household earnings threshold

If your child is eligible for and getting free school meals at any time before 31 March 2022, they’ll remain eligible until this date.

For guidance on how to apply online through our Family Portal see "Free school meals - application guide".

A copy of our Privacy Notice for the Family Portal is available as a download from this page.


Free school meals - application guide

How to apply online for free school meals

Family Portal Privacy Notice

Privacy Notice for Family Portal users, gives details of how we hold and use your personal information.

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