Information

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School meals

Eligibility for free school lunches

Your child can get free lunches in school if you get:

Your child is also entitled to free school lunches if you get:

Free meals for children before they go to school

All children in early learning and childcare can get a free meal on the days they go. This can be either breakfast, lunch or dinner.

You can up to get 1,140 hours of funded early learning and childcare a year for all 3 or 4 year old children and eligible 2 year olds.

16-18 year olds

If you're 16-18 years old and receive any of the above benefits in your own right, you can claim free school lunches.

Getting free lunches if you're not getting benefits or tax credits

Your child might still get a free lunch in school, early learning or childcare if you're experiencing financial hardship. This could be because:

  • your immigration status means you cannot get help from the government
  • you're still waiting on your first Universal Credit notice

Contact your local council for more information.

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Free school lunches in primary 1 to 5

Children at local council schools can get free school meals during term-time in primary 1 to 5, your family's financial circumstances do not matter.

Contact your local council or your child's school if your child is not getting free meals at this age.

Some children in funded childcare before starting school (early learning and childcare) can also get free meals.

Children at independent schools and home-educated children are not entitled to free school meals.

Apply for free school meals

You can apply for free school meals on your local council's website. You may be able to apply for help with school clothing costs at the same time.

Visit Aberdeen City CouncilVisit Aberdeenshire CouncilVisit Angus CouncilVisit Argyll and Bute CouncilVisit Clackmannanshire CouncilVisit Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Visit Dumfries and Galloway CouncilVisit Dundee City CouncilVisit East Ayrshire CouncilVisit East Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit East Lothian CouncilVisit East Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Edinburgh CouncilVisit Falkirk CouncilVisit Fife CouncilVisit Glasgow City CouncilVisit Highland CouncilVisit Inverclyde CouncilVisit Midlothian CouncilVisit Moray CouncilVisit North Ayrshire CouncilVisit North Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Orkney Islands CouncilVisit Perth & Kinross CouncilVisit Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Scottish Borders CouncilVisit Shetland CouncilVisit South Ayrshire CouncilVisit South Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Stirling CouncilVisit West Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit West Lothian Council

Help with school meals during school holidays 2022/23

If you get free school meals you may also be able to get help during the school holidays.

To qualify you need to get one of the benefits in the eligibility section.

You can apply as soon as you start to get one of these benefits. Even if this happens during school holidays. You do not need to wait until the school terms starts again to apply.

This applies to these holidays in coming school year:

  • October mid-term 2022
  • Christmas 2022
  • February mid-term 2023
  • Easter 2023

Contact your local council to apply

You need to contact your local council to find out how to apply.

This does not apply if your child gets free school meals due to only being in primary 1 to 5. You need to also get the benefits in the eligibility section. Contact your local council for more information.

Visit Aberdeen City CouncilVisit Aberdeenshire CouncilVisit Angus CouncilVisit Argyll and Bute CouncilVisit Clackmannanshire CouncilVisit Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council)Visit Dumfries and Galloway CouncilVisit Dundee City CouncilVisit East Ayrshire CouncilVisit East Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit East Lothian CouncilVisit East Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Edinburgh CouncilVisit Falkirk CouncilVisit Fife CouncilVisit Glasgow City CouncilVisit Highland CouncilVisit Inverclyde CouncilVisit Midlothian CouncilVisit Moray CouncilVisit North Ayrshire CouncilVisit North Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Orkney Islands CouncilVisit Perth & Kinross CouncilVisit Renfrewshire CouncilVisit Scottish Borders CouncilVisit Shetland CouncilVisit South Ayrshire CouncilVisit South Lanarkshire CouncilVisit Stirling CouncilVisit West Dunbartonshire CouncilVisit West Lothian Council

Check if you can get the Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payment. This is 4 payments of £130 made at Easter, Summer, October and Christmas.

Other free food and drink in schools

Some local councils and schools offer other free food and drink for pupils including free:

  • milk
  • breakfast
  • fruit

Check with your child's school or your local council to find out what's available in your area.

Catering for dietary requirements

If your child has a special dietary need (for example an allergy or a religious requirement) their school should cater for it.

Contact your local council if it does not currently cater for your child's need.  

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