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Around 1.8 million UK children are entitled to free school meals but more than 330,000 pupils don't get their entitlement. For some children, the social stigma or even teasing attached to being on free dinners puts them off. Often parents don't realise they're entitled or are discouraged by the likely bureaucracy.
Yes! Children who eat well during the day concentrate better in lessons. Sitting down to a meal together is an important part of children's social education. Also, one child in four doesn't get a hot dinner in the evening.
Other reasons why free school dinners are important:
In England, 21% of pupils are eligible for free school meals. Parents or guardians in England do not have to pay for school meals if they receive any of the following:
From 6 April 2012, Working Tax Credit rules for couples changed and because of the increase in the number of hours a couple has to work in order to qualify, some families may have lost their entitlement to Working Tax Credit. Those families may be entitled to free school meals if they now satisfy any of the above criteria.
However, as soon as you stop claiming any of the qualifying benefits listed above, your entitlement to claim free school meals also ends.
If you live outside the Salford City Council area, you will need to contact the council where you live to claim free school meals.
If you are claiming housing benefit and/or council tax reduction which is assessed using one of the qualifying incomes above, for example Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance then we should be able to process your free school meal applications and renewals over the phone, so please call us on 0161 909 6508 to apply.
However, if we are unable to process your application when you call, usually because there is no current housing benefit and/or council tax reduction claim in payment, you will need to apply in person.
If we are unable to confirm your entitlement when you ring, you can also apply for free school meals at Broughton Hub or our Gateway centres:
Staff at these locations should be able to process your free school meals application on a drop in basis. However, if you would like to see an advisor in a private interview room, you will need to make an appointment by either visiting your nearest centre or by calling us on 0161 909 6504.
In addition, you can apply at Unity House, Civic Centre, Swinton, from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily, except Wednesday when we open at 10.00am, but please be aware, this is a very busy location and you may have to wait to be seen. Customers are therefore advised to attend Broughton Hub or a Gateway Centre first.
If you are applying in person, please be sure to bring documentary proof that you are currently in receipt of any of the above qualifying benefits, or confirmation that you receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (eg IND letter or a NASS letter).
We will be unable to process your application for free school meals unless we have seen the necessary proof that you are entitled to claim.