Skip to content ↓
Stewards Academy

Stewards Academy

Science Specialist

Free School Meals

It is important for children to have a healthy, balanced and nutritious meal at lunch time. “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

We recognise that the rise in the cost of living, has impacted families in many ways.  If your home circumstances have changed you may find that you are now eligible for free school meals, which could save you over £40 per month, per child.

Please note, free school meals and purchased lunches are sold exactly the same way, no one is aware who is on free school meals and who is not. The current allocation is £2.50 per day which can be used to purchase a hot nutritious meal or an equally nutritious cold alternative. Running and weekly menus, with prices, can be found on our website.

You can top up your child’s Parentpay account with extra funds which will be debited once the daily free school meal allowance has been used.  If the daily allowance is not used it does not roll over to the next day.

Eligibility Rules

Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you are receiving any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit), with an annual income below £16,190
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance, income related
  • Support under part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999
  • Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit, with a household income of £7,400 or less (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Application Process and Protection

Free School Meals can only be given on the basis of a completed and approved application and cannot be backdated.

To apply for Free School Meals please complete the online application form on Essex County Councils website.  When an application has been agreed, Essex County Council will send a letter to the parent or carer and add the child’s details to the schools list of approved applications. This list is downloaded by the school on a weekly basis, we would therefore suggest contacting us when you receive your letter, so we can apply the allocation immediately.

Although we will do all we can when a child joins us. It is a parents/carers responsibility to make sure an existing claim is transferred to Stewards Academy correctly from a primary or previous school (in the instance of a mid-term admission).  This can be done by contacting Education Awards either via email at or calling 0345 6032200.  If the previous school was not in Essex a new claim will need to be made.

Families with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

The Department for Education have permanently extended free school meal eligibility to children in all households with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), subject to maximum income thresholds.  Further information can be found here.  If you think you may be eligible please complete this application form and submit original evidence of NRPF and proof of income (if relevant) to reception.

Legal Background

Free School Meals are administered by the Local Authority and the qualifying rules are decided by Central Government.

For questions and support relating to free school meals please contact Miss Webb on 01279 421951.  Please note applications can only be made via Essex County Council, thank you.