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Free school meals, school meals and milk

Free school meals from 8 March 2021

Children attending school

Universal infant free school meals

All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 who are attending school are entitled to get their universal infant free school meal.

Means-tested free school meals

All children, in any year group, that are eligible for means-tested free school meals and are attending school are eligible to receive a free school meal.

What if I usually pay for my child’s school meal?

All children, in any year group, that attend school where the parent/carers pay for school meals, will have provision available for receipt of a school meal and this needs to be paid for.

Children at home

Children who usually attend school may be at home due to a phased return or requirement to self-isolate.

Means-tested free school meals

If your child is at home because they are part of a planned phased return, or they are required to self-isolate, or for some other planned Covid-related reason, you can get free school meals in any year group if you receive one of the benefits listed below. Free school meals may be in the form of packed lunches, food parcels or food vouchers, or a combination of these.

You will not get free school meals for children remaining at home if you choose to keep them away from school or if they are absent for a non-Covid related reason.

Your school will contact you directly to support you. You can also contact your child’s school for information if needed.

Universal infant free school meals

If your child is automatically offered universal infant free school meals because they are in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2, this will not continue while your child is at home for any reason.

Eligibility criteria for free school meals

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are offered universal infant free school meals. This is regardless of your household income.

You do not have to apply for universal free school meals. However, you can apply for your school to get extra funding from the Government (called Pupil Premium), if you receive one of the benefits listed below:

  • Universal Credit - with an annual earned income of no more than £7,400 after tax
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Child Tax Credit (with no Working Tax Credit) with an annual gross income of no more than £16,190

Children who are normally home-schooled, are not eligible for universal infant free school meals. If home-schooled families are in hardship, you can apply via Norfolk Assistance Scheme for financial support.

Children in Year 3 and above

Children in Year 3 and above only receive free school meals if you get one of the benefits listed above. You must apply for these free school meals.

Children who are normally home-schooled are not eligible for means-tested free school meals. If home-schooled families are in hardship, you can apply via Norfolk Assistance Scheme for financial support.

How to apply for free school meals

You can apply for free school meals online using your Norfolk Education Online (NEO) account. You can use the same account for 2-year-old childcare funding and school admissions.

If you have applied for school admissions online before, you may already have an account.

Apply for free school meals

If you are eligible, we will confirm by email and tell your child’s school. If the result is “Not Found” or you need to send more proof, we will contact you by email.

Alternatively, you can download an application form and return it, or collect one from your child’s school.

What happens if your child moves schools?

If your child moves schools within Norfolk, they will continue to receive free school meals if they are still eligible.

If your child is moving to a school outside Norfolk, you will need to apply to the county council where the new school is.

School meals

The cost of a fixed price, two-course school meal is £2.30.

Adult meals are charged as follows:

  • Two-course meal: £2.94 (£2.45 + £0.49 VAT)
  • Main course only: £2.40 (£2.00 + £0.40 VAT)
  • Dessert only: £0.54 (£0.45 + £0.09 VAT)

School milk

All maintained primary, infant, junior and secondary schools are legally required to make milk available for drinking during school hours.

Children age 5-11 years can get a standard carton of milk for 20p.

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