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School meals

Free school meals from September for Reception Year 1 and Year 2

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.

  • You will need to register your interest to have a free school meal directly with your school.
  • You will need to complete relevant paperwork so that your school can claim vital funding.
  • Your school will provide relevant information for you on how it is managing and delivering this school food plan.

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 £2.25 and in secondary schools it is £2.30 for a two-course meal..

My School Lunch - lunch menu and healthy eating

The website My school lunch not only shows you what is on the menu for primary schools and the menu for secondary 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 commercial services catering teams produce over 55,000 meals in around 350 schools.  All the money you pay for a school lunch goes towards the cost of providing the meal.

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