Free school meals

Is your child eligible for Free School Meals? Have your circumstances changed recently which may affect your right to claim Free School Meals?

Students claiming Free School Meals receive a daily allowance of £2.20. Over a school year that means £418 is available for Free School Meal students to spend on food and drink. Thanks to the cashless catering system at West Exe School, a child claiming Free School Meals is treated the same as other students and cannot be identified. Their allowance gets added to their account each morning and any unspent allowance removed after lunch. In addition, the school receives extra funding via the ‘Pupil Premium’ allocation for Free School Meals students, which helps us subsidise the cost of equipment, uniform and educational visits.

Parents/carers who receive any of the following benefits are entitled to Free School Meals:-

  • Income Support (IS)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Child Tax Credit without Working Tax Credit with an annual taxable income (as assessed by HMR&C) of less than £16,190
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance (IBJSA)
  • Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Parents/Carers applying for free school meals will, in most cases, no longer need to provide paper proof of qualifying benefit.

Applications are processed by Devon County Council, who check eligibility through a Department for Education hub for all applications. In order to perform a hub check you need to contact Devon County Council, by either telephoning on 0845 155 1019, or via email on, providing parent/carer surname, date of birth and National Insurance number. They will notify you and us within ten days whether your application has been authorised. It will not tell us what benefits you are in receipt of, dates when a benefit was awarded or say how much you receive. If you are eligible to register but your child does not want to have a free school meal please do register anyway as part of our budget allocation is based upon the number of children registered for free school meals, and your child may be eligible for a subsidy towards the cost of equipment, uniform and educational visits.

If parents have any questions or want help with their application we will be happy to help them – please contact Reception in the first instance