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Warwickshire County Council is urging benefits eligible parents and carers in the county to take advantage of the free school meals and enjoy the numerous benefits on offer. 

If your family receives financial support, such as jobseeker's allowance, income support, child tax credit, or universal credit, your child may be eligible for free school meals. Making a successful application not only saves time and money but also provides your child's school with additional funding to enhance educational resources and opportunities. 

Eligible families could save around £400 per year so Warwickshire County Council wants to ensure that families are aware of how to apply in order to take this opportunity to support their child's education and well-being. 

Parents of children aged 4-7 years and at school in reception, year 1, or year 2 currently get universal free school meals but parents and carers are still encouraged to apply for benefits-related free school meals if they are eligible. By doing so, the school will benefit immediately, and their entitlement will continue beyond year 2, providing ongoing support for both the child and the school. 

Applying for free school meals will not result in a reduction or elimination of existing benefits. Families can be assured that claiming free school meals will not affect their current entitlements. 

The benefits of free school meals extend beyond the school day. By claiming free school meals, your child gains access to the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides exciting and free activities, along with nutritious meals, during school holidays at Easter, Christmas and over the summer. It's an excellent opportunity to keep your child engaged and nourished outside of term time. 

There is an added benefit for schools too. By increasing the number of eligible students accessing free school meals, schools can access the Pupil Premium funding they require to provide more teaching and learning support. The Pupil Premium funding is designed to close the attainment gap and ensure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds receive additional support and opportunities. By signing up for free school meals, families help generate the necessary funding that schools can use to improve educational resources, offer tailored interventions, and provide extracurricular activities that enhance the learning experience for all students. 

A healthy and balanced meal plays a crucial role in improving your child's concentration at school. Many schools offer a variety of meal options, including sandwiches, cold food, and hot meals, catering to diverse cultural and dietary requirements. Please speak to your child's school to learn about their specific offerings. 

Warwickshire County Councillor Sue Markham, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: "We firmly believe that every child deserves equal opportunities, regardless of their economic background. Parents and carers who believe they may be eligible for the free school meals are encouraged to visit the Warwickshire County Council website or contact their child's school directly. The council has a straightforward and streamlined application process, ensuring that families receive the support they need quickly and easily so that children are supported to be skilled, healthy and happy in line with our Child Friendly Warwickshire commitment." 

To learn more about free school meals, including information on how to apply, eligibility criteria, and the benefits it offers go to 

For regular news and information for families sign up for the Family Information Service (FIS) newsletter. This month's special edition is dedicated to providing comprehensive details about free school meals and the support available.  

For any questions or support regarding the application process for free school meals, contact or call 01926 35918. 

The Family Information Service is available 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Residents can phone FIS for free on 0800 408 1558, email, get in touch on Facebook or Twitter or visit 

Published: 1st June 2023

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