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Free school meals

Find out whether your child qualifies for free school meals and how to apply.

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 automatically get free school meals but you should still register your child to receive free school meals if you are eligible. By doing this your child’s entitlement can be checked on a regular basis so that their school can receive valuable additional funding for every child receiving a free school meal.

Your child must attend a primary or secondary school in Torbay or South Devon High School to get free school meals. If you have a child at nursery, they can receive free school meals as long as they attend a local authority maintained nursery (not private) and attend both the morning and afternoon sessions.

Students attending sixth forms can receive free school meals if the sixth form is part of the school. If your child is at a college, they will not be entitled. Students attending South Devon College may be eligible for free college meals. Applications are processed by South Devon College and for more information please contact 08000 380123.

From 1 April 2018, all existing free school meals claimants will continue receiving free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This will apply even if your 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, if you no longer meet the eligibility criteria at that point (because you are earning above the threshold or are no longer a recipient of Universal Credit) your child 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 by the end of 2024


Parents and carers who receive any of the following are entitled to free school meals

Only the benefits listed above qualify for free school meals. If you have recently become unemployed but are still receiving Working Tax Credits, you may be entitled to free school meals.

Children in our care, eg foster children cannot be considered for FSM.


We can undertake an online check for you in complete confidence - you will need to tell us your National Insurance Number or your National Asylum Seeker Number (NASS), your date of birth and your surname (as it appears on your benefit letter).

Apply for free school meals

What will happen next?

  1. We will check your claim.
  2. If you are entitled, we will let you and the school know, usually within five to 10 school days and tell you the start date for free meals.
  3. If your claim is not successful at this stage, we will let you know.

If you still believe you are entitled, please call 01803 208244 for advice. We may need you to send us documentary evidence of a qualifying benefit in this circumstance.

Contact Student Services