Free school meals

Free school meals are provided for all pupils in Primary 1, 2 and 3 as well as those families on qualifying benefits.

Free school meals can lead to a large saving each year, nursery and primary school pupils can save £351 and secondary pupils can save £370.

You'll also be helping your child's school if you qualify for free school meals. Some Scottish Government funding provided directly to schools is linked to the numbers of pupils who are entitled to free school meals.


All children in Primary 1, 2 and 3 get free school meals. Younger pupils at nursery or older pupils at primary and secondary school may also be eligible for free school meals in certain situations.


Your child will receive free school meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income based)
  • Child Tax Credit on its own, with an annual taxable income of less than £16,105 (subject to change)
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an annual taxable income of less than £6,420 (subject to change)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £610

In addition to the criteria, Councils are now able to use thier discretion in order to provide free school meals to pupils who may be under hardship due to exceptional circumstances. An application should be completed as normal.

There are also a number of additional criteria which mean children at nursery can get free school meals:

  • Severe Disability Allowance (parent)
  • State Pension Credit
  • Under a Kinship or Guardianship Order
  • Looked after child since their second birthday
  • Incapacity Benefit

These extra qualifying benefits are not considered if your application is for a primary or secondary pupil.

You may also qualify for a  school clothing grant  or financial help with school transport .


What happens next

We'll let you know if you quality for free school meals and willcontact the school directly in regards to eligibility. 

You must tell us if there are any changes to your financial circumstances, you can do this by completing a  Icon for pdf Change in Circumstances notification form. [PDF - 85.93KB]

Page last updated: 18/01/2019
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