Apply for free school meals and clothing vouchers

Free school meals and clothing grant

£500,000 worth of additional funding has been allocated to the school clothing grant fund as part of a new £2m cost of living reserve fund. This means that eligible parents will now receive a clothing grant worth £50 for each primary school child, up from £25, and £100 for each secondary school child, up from £35. 

If you're eligible, make sure you apply for free school meals if you haven't already so that you receive your school clothing grant too. It only takes 5 minutes.

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • 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're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - if your household income is less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

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

Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

If your child is eligible for free school meals, they'll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they're in on 31 March 2023.

If you receive working tax credits you may not be eligible for free school meals or clothing grants.

Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Jobseekers Allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

Free schools meals are available to statutory school aged children attending full time education (full days only 9am to 3pm), excluding private nurseries and further education colleges.

Please Note:  All children who currently receive free school meals and clothing grants do not need to apply each year.

  • where possible all parents and guardians should apply online - you will receive an immediate response advising you whether you are eligible or not  
  • if you are unable to apply online please contact the free school meals team - telephone: 01228 606060


If a child requires free school meals for the first time in September (for example - new starters in Reception), you will need to submit a new application for that child only, regardless of whether older siblings are in receipt of free school meals.

No, you can use the same form to name each child and say which school they go to.

No, you don't need to re-apply every year. 

Regular electronic checks of all applicants currently claiming free school meals will be carried out by the free school meals service to confirm you are still eligible.  You will only be contacted if we are unable to confirm your eligibility and will request further information is provided.

It is important that you tell the free school meal team of any change in circumstances including:

  • change of personal details, for example name or address
  • if you stop being the primary carer of the child(ren) you are claiming for.

You can let the team know by updating your details online.

If you are unable to update your details online, please let the team know by telephone: 01228 606060 or by email: FSM.ClothingGrants@cumbria.gov.uk