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Free School Meals


Free School Meals & Clothing Allowance

Advice NI is very aware that many households across Northern Ireland are struggling to make ends meet. Every penny counts, and with a view to maximising entitlements Advice NI would draw attention to the support available through Free School Meals and Clothing Allowance.

Free School Meals & clothing allowances can be awarded where one of the following are in payment:
· Income Support / Income based Job Seekers Allowance / Income based Employment & Support Allowance;
· Pension credit (Guarantee element);
· Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit because the person works less than 16 hours per week and has an annual taxable income of £16, 190 or less);
· Working Tax Credit and have an annual taxable income of £16 190 or less (applies to nursery, primary and special education school pupils);
Free School Meals can also be awarded for a child who has a statement of special educational needs and is designated to require a special diet.
The level of assistance is as follows:
Primary School Uniform / PE Clothing
· Pupils born on or before 1st July 2007 = £35.75
Secondary / Grammar / Special Schools
· A pupil under 15 on 1st August 2011 = £51.00
· A pupil 15 or over on 1st August 2011 = £56.00
· PE clothing = £22.00
Advice NI understand that as many as 8,000 children across N Ireland are missing out on this entitlement, which could amount to as much as £50 per month for each child, where the parent fails to come forward to apply for their entitlement to Free School Meals.
Apart from children losing out on their daily Free School Meal entitlement and the annual School Uniform Allowance, schools are also impacted financially through loss of vital funding to improve the educational outcomes for children. For every child verified as entitled to Free School Meals within individual schools, this attracts additional school funding.
Given the hikes in food prices and cost of living generally, there is considerable extra pressure on families trying to make ends meet. Access to Free School Meals will ensure that children have access to at least one hot, healthy meal per day. Research has also shown that when children eat better they do better in the classroom.
For further information please contact Advice NI or log on to .