Hartlepool Borough Council

Free School Meals

Further information about Free School Meals

The Education Act of 2001 (as amended and consolidated by subsequent legislation) states that:

A Local Authority should provide a free school meal for a person registered as a pupil and whose parents / guardians receive either of the following support payments:

  • Income Support (IS)*
  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA)*
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Income Related
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190 ,
  • Guaranteed State Pension Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • When you are in receipt of 'Working Tax Credit' during the four-week period immediately after your employment ceases or after you start to work less than 16 hours per week. Please call us on 01429 284188 for advice.

* Please note that children who receive IS or IBJSA in their own right are also eligible to receive free school meals.

There are two types of Job Seekers Allowance:

  • Income based Job Seekers
  • Contribution Based Job Seekers

Only parents / guardians receiving Income Based Job Seekers will be eligible to receive free school meals for their children.

Parents / guardians receiving Working Tax Credit are not usually eligible to receive free school meals.

The LEA has no discretionary powers to award or back date free school meals. Applications must be assessed in accordance with the statutory legislation.

If your child is eligible for free school meals, it's worth registering them.​ This is because schools receive a 'Pupil Premium' -​ an extra payment for each eligible child which they can spend on useful services




The quickest way to apply for free school meals is to make a telephone application on 01429 284188.


you can make your claim for Free School Meals through Jobcentreplus


you can collect a paper application form from your child's school or the Civic Centre.

Applicants should forward the completed application form to:
Civic Centre, Victoria Road , Hartlepool, TS24 8AY

or to your child's school.

We will use a secure government system to confirm your entitlement. If your claim is successful we will inform both you and the relevant school. If your claim is not successful or if we require any further information we will contact you.

Changes in Circumstances

Parents/Guardians must inform the Benefits Service of all changes in circumstances, i.e. If they become employed or start to receive another benefit, as this may affect their entitlement.

If a child receives a free school meal when they are not entitled, then parents will be required to provide the cost of that meal the next school day.

Nut Allergies

If your child is allergic to nuts and is of primary school age, please inform Childrens Services, as you may be eligible to be reimbursed for part of the cost to provide your child with a packed lunch. Alternatively a meal can be provided if you wish.



Email: benefits@hartlepool.gov.uk

Telephone: 01429 284188

Contact us

Telephone: 01429 266522

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