School meals

Financial help

During the school holidays when free school meals are not available, help is still available for families who need additional support. If you are struggling or feel that you are unable to make ends meet, Surrey councils are here and continuing to support you and your communities through these unprecedented times.

We have a dedicated helpline that residents who are struggling and in need of support can call on 0300 200 1008 and someone will be able to get them the help they need.

All the latest information can also be found on our coronavirus financial help page because we recognise the vital role councils have to play in the present times.

Reception, year 1 and year 2

The Government's school food plan provides funding to enable primary schools in England to offer a free lunch to every child in their reception classes, year 1 and year 2.

If your child is in any of these year groups, you could save more than £400 per year per child.

Year 3 and above

Advice on entitlement to free school meals and milk for years 3 and above is available from the Citizen's Advice Bureau. If entitled you should apply to your child's school directly.

You will need to pay your child's school for meals unless you are eligible to receive them for free. You should check the payment arrangements with your school – some offer online payment.

In primary schools the cost is £2.40 and in secondary schools it is £2.45 for a two-course meal..

It's Twelve 15 website and healthy eating

The website Twelve15 not only shows you what is on the menu for primary schools but also provides information on the food, ingredients and catering professionals we use and gives tips on healthy eating.

School meals can have significant health benefits for individual children. These include:

  • receiving a nutritious, balanced meal that contributes to one third of your child's daily nutritional requirement, which aids concentration and helps with learning,
  • improving academic performance as a result of healthier eating,
  • the potential to reduce obesity.

Schools also report improved behaviour and atmosphere as a result of children eating together in the dining hall every day. The dining experience encourages children to chat to each other, whilst tasting new foods and dishes, which assists with the development of personal social skills.

The council's Twelve15 catering teams produce over 44,000 meals in around 280 schools. All the money you pay for a school lunch goes towards the cost of providing the meal.