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Free School Meals

Free School Lunches

Access to free school meals is an important part of the school meal service in Scotland. Local authorities must promote the uptake of free school meals amongst those currently eligible. It is important that pupils entitled to free school meals get them without fear of stigmatisation.

You can claim free school lunches for your children if you are receiving:

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC), 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
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit, where take home pay does not exceed £610 per month*

If you are between 16 and 18 years old and receive any of these benefits in your own right, you can claim free school lunches for yourself.

For more information about benefits that you may be entitled to, please visit Gov.uk. Contact your local authority for information about how to register for free school meals.

Local initiatives for free food and drink

In an effort to ensure that children and young people get access to healthy nutritious food at school, some local authorities and schools use the powers that they have to provide free breakfasts, free lunches, free fruit or free milk to some children and young people for whom they are responsible. For more information about local initiatives in your area, you should contact your local authority.

Free school meals for children in primary 1 to 3

On 5 January 2015, free school meals were extended to all primary 1 to 3 children in local authority schools across Scotland to help ensure every child has the best possible start in life and gets every chance to succeed at school. The policy has had a huge uptake with latest figures showing that over 134,500 primary 1 to 3 children (81.7%) across Scotland now taking a nutritious free school lunch, saving families around £380 a year for each eligible child.

The Scottish Government is fully funding this policy and is providing local authorities with £53.918m in 2016/17, building on the £70.5 million of revenue funding provided over 2014-16 and the £24.8m of capital funding which was provided to support implementation.