Free School Meals and Universal Infant Free School Meals

To apply for Free School Meals select the following button.

Online application

This will link you to our Parent Portal where you can apply for Free School Meals or register for Universal Infant Free School Meals.

Free School Meals (FSM)

To qualify for Free School Meals you must receive at least one of the following benefits:

Qualifying Benefits:

Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
  • 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 guarantee 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 four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals as follows:

  • From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if their earnings rise above the new threshold during that time
  • In addition, any child gaining eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 will be protected against losing free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period
  • Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, any existing claimants that no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because they are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education (i.e. primary or secondary)

The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2023.

What happens if my circumstances change?

Report a change of circumstances

Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)

All infant pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 will be eligible for Free School Meals as part of the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals programme.

You do not need to be receiving any benefits to qualify for Universal Infant Free School Meals, but you do have to register as without a request UIFSM cannot be provided.

From your application we can identify if your child’s school will qualify for extra funding which can be spent on various activities including extra tuition, sports and music at your child’s school.

Please note: if your child will be starting school in a Solihull school reception class this September you can apply/register for Universal Infant Free School Meals using our online application once you have confirmed your place; there is no need to wait until September.

Frequently Asked Questions

My application has been unsuccessful but my child attends infant school and is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2?

As your child is an infant pupil they will still qualify for Universal Infant Free School Meals because you have registered.

Your completed online registration will assist the school in identifying extra funding via Pupil Premium which will benefit the school. We will also re-check your details periodically in case your claim for free meals becomes successful at a later date.

I live outside the Borough but my child attends a Solihull School. How do I apply for Free School Meals or register for Universal Infant Free School Meals?

As your child attends a school in Solihull, you should apply to the Family Information Service for Free School Meals even though you do not reside within the Solihull Borough.

My Child Attends Nursery School. Can I apply for Free School Meals?

If your child is receiving education either side of the lunch period you can claim free school meals when your child attends for a full day (this does not apply to Wraparound Nursery).

It must be a school nursery as free meals are not available at private nurseries. Universal Infant Free Meals do not begin until your child reaches Infant School (Reception, Year 1 and Year 2).

How can I ensure that my child is provided with a healthy meal?

Menus and information about Solihull’s freshly prepared meals are available on our school meals page. Information will also be available at your child’s school.

Will I be required to provide proof of benefits when I make a claim?

When you make a claim online you will not be asked for proof of benefits. Your entitlement will be checked against our Eligibility Checking Service which is provided by the Department for Education. If for any reason you are receiving a qualifying benefit but this cannot be confirmed we may in a few cases have to ask for current paper proof of entitlement.

I receive Universal Credit but I also receive other benefits as well, will I be eligible for a Free School Meal?

As long as your net earned income is no more than £7400 as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods then you will be eligible.

My child is currently getting a Free School Meal but my circumstances have changed, will my child lose their meal?

If you are currently eligible for a Free School Meal due to the roll out of Universal Credit your child’s free school meal eligibility will be protected until March 2023 and if they are then still in education they will be protected until the end of their school phase i.e. primary or secondary.

2 of my children currently get a free meal but I will be applying for my youngest child who starts school in September 2018 and my circumstances have changed, will my youngest child be eligible?

As your two older children are already receiving a free school meal, due to the roll out of Universal Credit their eligibility will be protected until March 2023 and if they are then still in education they will be protected until the end of their school phase i.e. primary or secondary.

Your youngest child will not be eligible if your circumstances have changed as they are a new claim so therefore not already protected. If your circumstances change again and you reapply for your youngest child, that child will then be eligible and will then be protected the same as your older children.

I am moving from another area to Solihull and my children currently have Free School Meals and are protected, do I have to reapply in Solihull?

Yes if your children are moving to a Solihull school you will need to make a new application for a Free School Meal via the parent portal.

If your circumstances have changed and you therefore receive a refused response to your application you will need to notify the Family Information Service that your children were previously protected out of borough. We can then verify this with your new school and ensure your children receive a Free School Meal and that their eligibility then becomes protected again.

I receive Working Tax Credit but my income is below £16,190 can I still claim FSM?

If there is any Working Tax being received in your home, regardless of income unfortunately you are not entitled to claim free school meals.

Is it true that I can claim FSM if I lose my job, even though I receive Working Tax Credit?

If you are receiving Working Tax Credit during a 4 week `run-on’ period after your employment has ceased, you can claim Free School Meals. During the 4 week `run-on’ period it is anticipated that you will either rapidly reclaim another qualifying benefit or find new employment.

Due to the roll out of Universal Credit, when the four week `run-on’ finishes your free meals will now continue until at least March 2023 as your entitlement will be protected even if your circumstances change

How will I be advised of the outcome of my online application?

When your application has been processed you will be sent an email to advise you of the outcome. The school will also be advised of the result.

If you do not receive an email within 5 working days, please contact the Family Information Service (Please note when we are experiencing high volumes of applications and especially in September, all claims will be dealt with in the order they are received. It is advisable to claim early to avoid a delay. You are able to claim during school holiday periods).

Please remember to check your junk / spam email folder just in case the email has been redirected incorrectly.

Do I have the opportunity to appeal if my online application is unsuccessful?

Yes, the Family Information Service will be happy to help you with any queries you may have regarding your claim.

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