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.

Application Process

The application process for parents to apply for Free School Meals and a Clothing grant changed for the Academic year 2018/2019. Historically, parents/carers submit an application for this on an annual basis. The new process means that you may not need to re-apply each year. Parents currently in receipt of Free School Meals and/or a Clothing grant do not need to complete an application, we will automatically assess your entitlement each year.  We will write to you if we are unable to confirm your current benefit.  If you are in receipt of Tax Credits you will be required to provide this office with a full copy of your Tax Credit Award for the current financial year i.e. 2019/2020 to enable an assessment to take place

A change of circumstances form should be completed and returned to if you are currently in receipt of Free School Meals and/ or a Clothing grant and have experienced any changes to your circumstances i.e. change of surname, address or bank details as well as having an additional child entering P1 or joining your family.  You can request this form by emailing, ask the school office or print the form from the link below.

If a child is no longer to be included as part of a current application please email this office to let us know to remove them from your claim before the end of June.

Parents are still required to complete an application and provide supporting evidence in the following circumstances: you are an asylum seeker receiving support under part VI of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999, live outwith the region and your child (ren) attends a school within Dumfries and Galloway and you are not currently in receipt of Free School Meals and/or a Clothing grant.

All children in Primary 1, 2 and 3 receive a free school meal but please remember to complete an application if you wish to apply for a Clothing grant.  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 are in receipt 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 £6,900 (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 their discretion in order to provide free school meals to pupils who may be under hardship due to exceptional circumstances. You can contact us if you wish to discuss. An application should be completed.

Free School Meals can lead to a large saving each year, parents of primary school children can potentially save £361 and parents of secondary pupils can potentially save £370.  You will 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 registered as entitled to free school meals.

There are also a number of additional criteria which mean children at nursery can receive a Free School Meal:

  • 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.

What Happens Next

If you applied and were entitled to Free School Meals or a Clothing Grant during the Academic year 2018/2019 you will not receive an entitlement letter, we will contact the school directly in regards to continuing eligibility. If you have applied for the first time and qualify during the Academic year 2019/2020 you will receive a letter of entitlement.  You must tell us if there are any changes to your financial circumstances, you can do this by completing a Change of Circumstances form.

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


Best Start Grant School Age Payment Now Open for Applications

The payment itself will provide families in Scotland, who are on a low income, with £250 to help with the costs of a child starting school.  People can apply around the time a child normally starts Primary 1 and if they get certain benefits or tax credits.  For this year that means if their child is born on or between 1 March 2014 to 28 Feb 2015. Applications can be made from 3 June 2019 until 29 February 2020 either online at or by contacting our Freephone helpline on 0800 182 2222. The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.


Page last updated: 25/06/2019
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