Skip Navigation

This is a new website – your feedback will help us improve it.

Free school meals

From September 2022 children in Reception, will automatically get free school meals. 

All children in Years 1 and 2 will now receive Universal Primary free school meals from Monday 7th November 2022 (after October half-term).

All children in Years 3 and 4 will now receive Universal Primary free school meals from Monday 17th April 2023.

All children in Years 5 and 6 will receive Universal Primary free school meals from September 2023.

By 2024 all primary school children in state schools in Wales will get free school meals.

If you receive any of the benefits outlined below, you should register for a free school meal as you may be entitled to a School Essentials Grant.

Further information from the Welsh Government.

Welsh Government free school meal holiday payments

In response to the pandemic, the Welsh Government introduced holiday payments for pupils eligible for free school meals.

This support was time-limited to help families. Welsh Government have been able to support several temporary extensions of the scheme. The most recent extension was to the end of the May half-term.

The scheme has now ended. There will be no further holiday payments made.

Free meal entitlement criteria

Free school meals are available to eligible pupils who attend school full-time. This includes:

  • younger children who attend nursery for full days
  • sixth form school pupils

 A pupil may be able to get free school meals if their parent or guardian gets 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
  • Child Tax Credit (as long as you don't also get Working Tax Credit and your annual income is £16,190 or less before tax)
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit - your household earnings must be less than £7,400 a year after tax. This does not include any income from benefits.

Pupils who receive Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance in their own right could also be able to receive free school meals.

By Law no other category of support payment or combination of Tax Credits qualify for free school meals. Similarly, there are no other circumstances that can legally justify the provision of a free meal.  Contribution-based Job Seekers Allowance (CBJSA), Working Tax Credit and Invalidity Benefit do not qualify; also being in receipt of both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit does not qualify.

Child starting school for the first time must complete an application for free school meals, even if they have a sibling at the same school or another school who is already getting free school meals.  Awards will not automatically be made where siblings are in receipt of free school meals.

Please Note: Free School Meal applications will not be backdated.

If you stop receiving qualifying payments, or if you change to another type of support payment you must inform School and Family Support team immediately. Your child may no longer be eligible to receive a free school meal. If you continue to claim free meals to which you are not entitled you will be required to pay for the meals provided and further action may be taken.

Changes from 1st April 2019

Any pupil eligible for free school meals on the 1st April 2019 will have their eligibility protected, and this will apply until the end of the rollout of Universal Credit (currently scheduled for December 2023), regardless of whether their circumstances change. 

Any pupil who becomes eligible under the new criteria during the rollout of Universal Credit (from 1st April 2019 to December 2023) will also retain their eligibility until the end of Universal Credit rollout, regardless of whether their circumstances change. 

Once the rollout of Universal Credit has completed, transitional protection will continue until the protected child comes to the end of their current phase in education i.e. primary/secondary.

Apply for free school meals

Please apply online or download and complete the form below.


  • Free school meals application 2023-2024 (DOCX 40 KB)

    i.Id: 3159
    i.ContentType.Alias: nptFile
    mTitle: Free school meals application 2023-2024
    mSize: 40 KB
    mType: docx
    i.Url: /media/qptavkkj/fsm-application-2023-2024.docx

Forms should be returned to:

Directions to SA13 1PJ
Child and Family Support Team
Civic Centre Port Talbot Neath Port Talbot SA13 1PJ pref
(01639) 763515 (01639) 763515 voice +441639763515

Renewal of free school meals

If you are already claiming free school meals for your child, for each new school year, this entitlement will automatically follow your child. However, if your child is moving to a new school (i.e. moving from primary to secondary school, commencing Reception or transferring to a school within Neath Port Talbot) a new application will have to be submitted.

Food and Fun scheme

Some of our schools take part in the Food and Fun scheme. During the summer holidays it gives children:

  • food and nutrition education
  • physical activity
  • enrichment sessions
  • healthy meals

Cost of living help from Welsh Government