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Universal Infant Free School Meals


Reception, year 1 and year 2

From September 2014 all pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2 in state-funded schools in England should be offered a free school meal (FSM). This includes academies, free schools, pupil referral units and alternative provision as well as maintained schools.

Eligibility criteria for other groups

Existing entitlements to free school meals for disadvantaged pupils in nursery classes and at key stages 2-4 will continue, based on the existing free school meals eligibility criteria for those groups of pupils.

In England, children at key stages 2-4 in state-funded schools are entitled to receive FSM if their parents or carers are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

• Income Support

• Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

• Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

• the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

• Child Tax Credit (provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)

• Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

• During the initial roll out of the benefit, Universal Credit

The Children and Families Act (2014) does not change the current position for children who are registered pupils in the nursery class of a maintained school, or in a maintained nursery school. They will continue to receive a FSM if they meet the existing eligibility criteria and they are in receipt of full-time education or education both before and after the lunch period.

Young children who take up their funded early education entitlement in a private or voluntary early year’s provider – for example a full day care nursery, or play group – or an independent school are not entitled to a FSM even if they meet the qualifying criteria.

This is because the existing FSM framework is relevant only to registered pupils in the state-funded school sector.

For the full goverment paper on UIFSM please see the bottom of this page.



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