Free school meals and associated payments

Free school meals are provided for all pupils in Primary 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. They are also available to children in early learning and childcare, Primary 6, Primary 7 and and secondary education in certain circumstances.

Children in early learning and childcare can qualify for free lunches on the days that they attend if they have a funded place.  Your child can also get a free lunch in early learning and childcare, P6/7 or S1 to S6 if you meet the qualifying criteria. 

Free School Meals can lead to a large saving each year for parents of eligible pupils as your child may also qualify for a School Clothing Grant and Holiday Food Payments.

You will also be helping your child's school if you qualify for Free School Meals. Some Scottish Government funding provided directly to schools is linked to the numbers of pupils who are registered as entitled to free school meals.

Qualifying criteria

Your child will receive free school meals if you are in receipt of the following:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit (where your monthly earned income is not more than £796)
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, where your income is less than £19,995
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit where your income is not more than £9,552

If you have a child who has a Coordinated Support Plan (CPS) then you are also entitled to Free School Meals.

If you meet the above criteria, apply on the link below or contact us if you have a query about entitlement to Free School Meals.

How to apply

Apply for Free School Meals online

Alternatively, you can:


The assessment for Free School Meals will also include an assessment to check if you are eligible for School Clothing Grant and Holiday Food Payments

If you are still eligible the following year, you may be automatically re-awarded, depending on your circumstances. If you have any doubt about this, you should check with your school as soon as you can in case you need to make a new application.

Receiving Council Tax Reduction

Families receiving Free School Meals/School Clothing Grant, who are currently in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, may be assessed using information we already hold. This means that when you make a claim, you may not need to provide any additional information.

We aim to get as many eligible families to take up Free School Meals as possible. If you are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and do not currently have Free School Meals, we may contact you if you meet the qualifying criteria above. This contact may be via the post, or via email or telephone, if we have your contact information.

School Clothing Grant

This is currently £134 for Primary aged children and £150 for Secondary aged children, which is paid yearly.

Holiday Food Payments

You may also qualify for Holiday food Payments - a cash payment made to your bank account during holiday periods and certain other unforeseen days off. This is currently £2.50 per day and can be available to the following groups:

  • Children in early learning and childcare who have a funded place or who's family meets the qualifying criteria
  • Children who attend Nursery who's family meets the qualifying criteria
  • Children in P1 to P7 and S1 to S6 who's family meets the qualifying criteria (note, this is not available to those in P1 to P5 who receive their free lunch but do not meet the qualifying criteria).

Changes to your circumstances and/or payment details

You must tell us if there are any changes to your circumstances, such as:

  • Change of parent/guardian
  • Change of bank details
  • Change of address
  • Additional Children
  • Children leaving school
  • You no longer meet the income qualifying criteria

Email or Icon for pdf download a Change of Circumstances notification form [PDF - 128KB]  to report a change in your circumstances

Page last updated: 11/06/2024
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