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School meals

Help with school meals during lockdown and school holidays 2020/21

If you get free school meals you may also be able to get help during lockdown and 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 this school year:

  • Christmas 2020
  • February mid-term 2021
  • Easter 2021

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 3. You need to also get the benefits in the eligibility section. Contact your local council for more information.

Check if you can get the COVID winter hardship payment (£100 per child).


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

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

Free lunches for children before they go to school

All children in funded early learning and childcare can get free lunches.

Your child can also get a free lunch in early learning and childcare if you get any of the benefits above.

Contact your childcare provider or local council to find out more.

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

Your child may also be able to 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 local council for more information.

Free school meals in primary 1,2 and 3

Every child in Scotland at a local council school can get free school lunches during term-time in primary 1, 2 and 3. This applies to all children in these years - your family's financial circumstances do not 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 are not entitled to free school meals.

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.  

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