School meals

Last updated: 8 October 2020


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.