School meals

Last updated: 7 April 2020

Every child in Scotland at a local council school can get free school lunches in primary 1, 2 and 3. This applies to all children in these years - your family's financial circumstances don't matter.

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

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

Children at independent schools aren't entitled to free school meals.

Coronavirus and free school meals

Local councils are making sure families who get free school meals continue to get them while schools are closed.

Children in primary 1 to 3 will not automatically get free school meals during this time.

Contact your local council if you need to discuss school free school meals for your children.

Free school meals after primary 3

Your child can get free school lunches after primary 3 if you're receiving:

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

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

Your child might still get a free school meal if you're experiencing financial hardship. This could be because:

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

If you're experiencing difficulty with the cost of school meals for any reason, contact your local council to find out more.

Free lunches for children before they go to school

Your child can get a free lunch in early learning and childcare if you get any of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (if your monthly earned income is not more than £610 a month)
  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Pension Credit

Your child can also get a free lunch if at any point since they were aged 2 they've been:

  • looked after
  • had a Kinship Care Order
  • had a Guardianship Order

Contact your child's nursery or your local council for more information.

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

Apply for free school lunches

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

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.