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Free School Meals Eligibility Assessment Service


Available to: All Maintained Schools and Academy Schools

As follows: Annual Agreement — Academic Year

Get in touch

Contact: Andrew Sheldon

Telephone: 01709 336065



Service description

Section 201 of the Education Act 2002 states that free school meals should be made available to pupils in full time education whose parents/guardians are in receipt of qualifying state benefits.

The Local Authority provides maintained schools and academies with access, via the Revenue & Benefits Service, to eligibility checking and notification of pupils’ entitlement to receive Free School Meals.

Schools are provided with accurate data for the census returns and pupil premium claims.

Service details

  • Automatic assessment of entitlement to free schools meals on behalf of parents claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. Notification of entitlement to Free School Meals will be sent to the parents and schools confirming the start date of the award. Reviews of customer entitlement are carried out as part of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction administration.
  • Customers not applying for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction or parents of children attending a Rotherham School but who do not live in the Rotherham area can also apply to the service for their eligibility to be checked. An annual review of entitlement is carried out by the service for applications that are independent of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Benefit claims.
  • Changes in entitlement to free school meals: Where there is a change in circumstances, a notice will be issued to both the parent and school advising of the date eligibility ended.
  • Award notices and termination notices will be issued to parents by letter/email and to schools by email.

Schools that do not opt to use this service will need to make their own arrangements to assess entitlement for free school meals. This will include how applications can be made, collecting proof of entitlement from parents to support an award, reviewing awards and notifying parents of any awards or terminations.


Schools are charged according to the number of pupils eligible for free school meals.

The charge for the 2019/20 academic year will be £5.24 per eligible free school meal pupil according to the January 2019 census figures for September to March and the January 2020 census for April to August.

See the Service Level Agreement