Free School Meals

St Helens Council



Free school meals and once eligible, your child will continue to receive free school meals in primary or secondary school until at least 31 March 2022 and then until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary (Year 6) or secondary (Year 11). After this period, you may need to reapply.


Available In
  • St Helens
Available to Age Groups
  • No Restriction
What we can help with
  • Help with food and other essentials
  • Information on government/council support schemes
Available to these Groups
  • All Groups

Additional Information

Your child will be eligible for free school meals if you (or your partner) are in receipt of any of the following:

  • Universal Credit and net earnings are no more than £7,500 per year (£616.67 in your last assessment period, £1,233.34 over last two assessment periods or £1,850 over last three assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income, as assessed by HMRC, of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit 'run on' - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

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

From 1 April 2025, if your child moves between primary and secondary school you will need to reapply for free school meals.

If your child is attending one of the following schools you need to contact the school directly to apply for free school meals:

  • St Mary & St Thomas’ C.E. Primary School, WA10 2HS
  • Rainhill St Ann’s Church of England Primary School, L35 0LQ

You should live within the borough of St Helens. If you live outside the area please contact your local education authority.

We will check your eligibility to claim free school meals electronically. You will not normally need to provide supporting evidence.

If you qualify we will also notify your child's school.

Children at infant or special schools may also be eligible to receive free milk.

Children below compulsory school age must attend before and after lunch sessions at a local authority nursery school or nursery class to qualify for free school meals.

Young people who receive the above-listed awards in their own right are also eligible to apply for free school meals.

Foster parents already receive funding and are not eligible to apply for free school meals.

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