Free School Meals Scheme - national lockdown
School meal provision continues to be available for children eligible for free school meals (FSM) or universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) who are not currently able to attend school. This will be provided as follows:
- As a weekly food parcel or a packed lunch – whereby schools will arrange distribution to eligible families for schools using the council’s preferred catering supplier, Solihull Catering Services
- For schools using alternative catering suppliers, the food provision may differ from the above.
Please contact your child’s school for further information.
For children who are still attending school, meal provision will be provided but this may not be the usual hot meal.
Children of key workers, who usually pay for a meal and are not entitled to either a FSM or UIFSM, who are provided meals will be expected to pay in the usual manner via ParentPay.
If you receive benefits or have a low income, your child may be eligible for Free School Meals.
Please select below to apply for a Free School Meal.
Free School Meals (FSM)
You may be eligible for Free School Meals if you receive a qualifying benefit.
This could be:
- Universal Credit - your household earned annual income must be less than £7,400 after tax and not including any benefits
- 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
Once the roll out of Universal Credit is completed in March 2023 anyone who no longer meets the the eligibility criteria , either because their earnings are above the limit or if they no longer receive 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 if I don’t receive one of the above benefits?
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government 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 no recourse to public funds 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 no recourse to public funds restriction
If you are in one of these groups your household earnings must not be over £7,400 a year.
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 you are in one of the above groups you will need to apply for Free School Meals by calling us on 0121 704 6611.
Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)
All infant pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 are eligible for Universal Infants Free School Meals.
If you receive benefits and your child gets Universal Infant Free School Meals you should still apply online for Free School Meals. This will allow your child’s school to receive extra funding that could support your child.
You can apply for Universal Infant Free School Meals as soon as your child's place at school is confirmed.
If you need help or advice with your application please contact our Family Information Service.
- Phone: 0121 704 6611
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
If you are currently eligible for a Free School Meal due to the roll out of Universal Credit your child’s 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.
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.
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.
If there is any Working Tax being received in your home, regardless of income unfortunately you are not entitled to claim Free School Meals.
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 School Meals will now continue until at least March 2023 as your entitlement will be protected even if your circumstances change.
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.
Yes, the Family Information Service will be happy to help you with any queries you may have regarding your claim.