Free School Meals – An Important Update from the Department for Education (DfE)

Important information for parents/carers from the Department for Education regarding Free School Meals (FSM) eligibility.

Following the introduction of Universal Credit on 1 April 2018, a pupil’s Free School Meals (FSM) status will be protected until the end of the Universal Credit roll out period (31 March 2022), or until their phase of education at that time ends.

What does this Mean?

  • Any parent/carer whose child receives Free School Meals (FSM) after 31 March 2018 should continue to receive FSM until the end of the Universal Credit roll out period, or their phase of education at that time ends. This applies even if their circumstances change and they no longer meet the eligibility criteria
  • Any parent/carer who gains eligibility for FSM from 1 April 2018 will continue to receive FSM until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period, or their phase of education at that time ends. This applies even if their circumstances change and they would no longer meet the eligibility criteria

The DfE can also confirm that, for those who qualify through support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, or the guarantee element of the Pension Credit, their benefit(s) will not be replaced by Universal Credit and therefore their child’s FSM entitlement will not be protected. Pupils will only be entitled to a free school meal whilst the parent/carer retains the benefit.


How to Apply for Free School Meals


Moving Schools

If a pupil who was eligible for FSM after the 31 March 2018 transferred from another school within the same local authority or from another English local authority, the parents do not need to re-apply for FSM.

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