International School Meals Day 2018 - Free School Meals

Posted by: Eden Morrison on March 15 2018 | Tagged:

International School Meals Day – 15th March 2018


A warm lunch in the form of a free school meal provides many benefits for children of all ages, and it is important to see if you are able to secure this service for your child.


The provision of a free, healthy meal during the school day can help children focus on their studies, and through the provision of a range of foods can help children reach their recommended 5 a day. The provision of this service can also assist parents in founding healthy eating habits for their children.


Currently, half of the children in the UK do not have access to a school meal during the day - whether this is due to obstacles in the application process or through the cost implications. It is important to know that for a number of families across the UK there are programmes and applications in place to provide free school meals for children. Read on to see if you are eligible to apply for free school meals for your children. 



In Scotland, all children between the years of P1 and P3 are eligible for free school meals. If your child is not receiving free school meals you can get in contact with their school, or your local council to discuss this.

Children in full-time education after P3 up to the age of 16 are entitled to free school meals if you are currently receiving:

Your child is also entitled to free school lunches if you receive:

  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and your income is less than £16,105
  • both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit and your income is under £6,420

For more information on this, you can visit the government website here.


England and Wales

On Tuesday the 13th of March 2018, it was voted on by the government that there will be some changes to free school meal entitlement in England and Wales.

This could result in 1 million children missing out on a vital service which many families rely on. The government now intends to introduce a net household earnings threshold of £7,400 (£18,000 to £24,000 a year including benefits). You can read more about this here.

If your child is in either Reception Class, Year 1 or Year 2 they will receive free school meals automatically, and this will not be affected by the upcoming changes to eligibility criteria.

At the current time, if you receive any of the following benefits you may be eligible to receive free school meals for your child:

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

For more information visit the government website here



Northern Ireland

From 27 September 2017, parents do not have to pay for school lunches if they receive any of the following:

To find out more about the options available regarding school meals, and how to apply online, visit the NI Gov website here


During the School holidays, it can be difficult to fill the gap that is left from free school lunches, and this can often cause a strain on finances. Organisations such as food banks can provide food packages for those who are in need. To find out more about this service and to locate your nearest food bank visit the Trussell Trust website.


If you find the spring, summer, autumn, or winter holidays a financial strain, don’t turn to high-cost lenders, as this will only end up hurting your finances and costing more in the long run. Make sure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to by making an appointment with your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Scotcash Affordable Loans are also here for you if you need to borrow credit at a low, fair, and affordable rate. To compare our rates click here, and to apply online click here.


Find out more about International School Meals Day here.