Free school meals are available to eligible pupils who attend schools, on a full-time basis, which are under the jurisdiction of Ceredigion Education Authority.*

This includes:

  • Younger children who attend for full days (aged 4+)
  • Sixth form pupils

A pupil may be able to get free meals if their parent or guardian (that is, the person who has care of the child) gets any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • from 1 April 2019, Universal Credit - provided your household has an annualised net earned income1 of no more than £7,400 (as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

1 Net earned income is defined as household income after taxes and deductions. It does not include income from Universal Credit or other benefits.

If your children receive Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance in their own right, they could also be able to receive free school meals.

* All full-time pupils attending primary sector education in Ceredigion have been automatically entitled to Universal Primary Free School Meals (UPFSM) from September 2023.

Please note that if your child/ren are in these specific years, and you wish to receive the School Essentials Grant payment, you will still need to complete a Free School Meals Application Form. You should also let the school know directly if you wish for these child/ren to receive a free meal each day, or if they will be bringing a packed lunch.


In the first instance please complete an application form.

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Other ways to apply

Contact the Local Authority on 01545 570881 in order to complete an application over the telephone or visit one of our Customer Service Centres.

Initial and ongoing checks to confirm your eligibility will be made using your National Insurance Number and Date of Birth, these should be completed automatically once your claim is processed and approved.

Where checks are impossible or inconclusive we will ask you to provide documentary proof.

Changes in Circumstances

If your circumstances change then you will need to inform the Local Authority immediately. In instances where claimants fail to notify the Authority of changes that affect their children's entitlement to free school meals, the Authority reserves the right to take suitable action. Please note that not all changes will result in any changes to receipt of Free School Meals due to Transitional Protection.

What is “Transitional Protection”?

On 1 April 2019, the Welsh Government introduced new rules for claiming free school meals. Because of this, a relatively small number of children and young people could have lost their eligibility for free school meals. “Transitional Protection” (TP) was introduced to ensure that these children and young people could continue to receive free school meals for a limited period of time.

Transitional protection can be summarised as follows:

  • Any child or young person who became eligible for free school meals between 1 April 2019, when the new rules were introduced, and 31 December 2023 will have their free school meals protected until the end of their current school phase (i.e. either primary education or secondary education)
  • TP will not be extended to claimants who are not on Universal Credit or legacy benefits, and are therefore unaffected by the change in free school meals eligibility criteria

From 1 January 2024, no new pupils will be eligible for TP, even though some members of the same family may already be.

For further information regarding the changes made by Welsh Government please visit their Food and drink in schools page.