Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits:
In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals as follows:
The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2025
Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.
Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:
If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31 March 2025.
This information was correct as at 9 February 2023
The DfE have permanently extended free school meal eligibility to children in all households with no recourse to public funds (NRPF), subject to maximum income thresholds.
This guidance explains who these groups are and how schools can verify their eligibility and award free school meals.
Schools are not able to use the eligibility checker to confirm eligibility for these families as the family will not be in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits.
These groups include, but may not be limited to children of:
The maximum income threshold differs based on your location and the number of children that your family has.
Under the permanent extension of free school meal eligibility to all NRPF groups, the annual household income thresholds for those families able to work are:
Whether or not a person will be considered within the London or the outside London threshold will be determined by the address of the family.
If the family is living within the local authority of one of the 33 London boroughs, the London thresholds will apply. If the
In addition to these thresholds, families must hold no more than £16,000 in capital and savings.
Providing an application form
We have provided a sample application form, including a self-declaration that you can provide to families and carers for verifying eligibility.
Though the form is designed for applicants to complete themselves, we appreciate that individual circumstances may make this difficult, and schools can assist with the completion if required.
Use of the sample applicaation form is not mandatory. You can create your own form if you prefer.
Recording eligible pupils
You should record eligible free school meals pupils who qualify through the NRPF criteria in the termly school census, in the same way as all other free school meals pupils.
You should retain evidence of the application including the self-declaration and any supporting documentation for usual audit purposes.
Confirming NRPF status
We have provided examples of how families can demonstrate their NRPF status. This list is not necessarily exhaustive and families may be able to provide alternative evidence not listed.
In all cases, the family should complete and sign the self-declaration form confirming both their immigration category and that they are not above the maximum income threshold required for their area.
Article 8 of the ECHR
In many (but not all) cases, the family will be able to show a derivative residence card. If they do not hold this, they must be able to show that:
Check the income thresholds for your area.
Families should complete a self-declaration of their income as part of their application.
To verify this, we suggest you ask to see one of the following:
From 1 April 2018 the Department for Education has made changes to the Universal Credit Thresholds. Any child eligible for Free School Meals before this date will be protected until 31 March 2025.
The data from the DWP does not reflect the fact that a child is protected, so the eligibility checker will return a 'Not Eligible' result for these children.
This is determined by the date the child was in receipt of the Free School Meal.
Parents may be asked to provide proof of their benefit start date by their child's school.
It is down to you to prove your eligibility to the school.
Enter the site via the Check eligibility button. Then use the blue button called Continue to enter your details. If the system recognises you, the username of your existing account will be shown on screen. You will then be able to text a password reminder to your mobile. You will be unable to create a new account and will need to use the existing account to log in.
If you work at a school that subscribes to LGfL, you most likely have a user account from that school which should be used as your login for this service. This type of account looks something like jsmith3.125
If you have applied for school places online, this would have been done via the eAdmissions service and an account ending in .uso would have been created for you during the process. Your application will not be affected in any way by using the same account here.
If your school uses ParentComms:Pay+ or ParentComms:Reporter and you have registered online, the account created will end in .uso and should be used to access this service.
If you are still unsure if you have an account, you can try to enter your details by using the blue button called Continue. The system will run a check for your details and will inform you if an account already exists for you. Your username will be provided and you will be able to retrieve your password by text. You will need to use that account to log in.
Yes you can.
You will need to contact your child's school, as they can run a check on your behalf, as long as you can provide the following information:
If your child attends any school in England you will be able use this eligibility checker. The following information will needed to be entered :
When the check is complete and your child is eligible a 'Certificate of Eligibility' will be available for you to print or email to give to your child's school.
These schools do not subscribe to the full LGfL service, so are referred to as 'non-participating' schools.
Unless you link your account with your child's school it is impossible for the school to know that you have taken part in this process. If you are eligible for free school meals, linking your account with your child's school is essential to allow the school to process the free school meal application on behalf of your child.
Your child may be able to provide it to you – this will depend on whether these accounts are widely used in the school and the age of the child. If your child does not know their username, you or the child should be able to obtain it from the school – when contacting the school you should request the LGfL USO username which ends in a number and looks something like: martiw235.998
If you don't complete the process correctly your childs school will get a message 'Eligibility check not completed'.
To correct this you will need to login into the FSM website and follow the instructions.
This is determined by the date your child was in receipt of the Free School Meal.
You should provide proof of eligibility to your child's school.
The rules around eligibility for free school meals work the same for carers and foster parents as they do for birth parents
If your child’s school is participating, they will be able to see that you are eligible and should process the information accordingly. You may wish to contact the school a week or so after the test and ensure they have taken the relevant action if they have not communicated with you.
If your child’s school is not yet participating in this service, they will have been notified about your outcome but may not have taken any action. Please do not assume your application has been processed by them and contact the school to confirm.
As of September 2014 all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to receive free meals as a result of a government initiative.
However, it is important for all parents to test whether they would be entitled to free school meals if this scheme did not exist.
This is because where parents are shown to be eligible, schools can claim extra government funds to improve the school’s resources and provide a better service to children.
Schools in England do not have to subscribe to the full LGfL service for their parents to be able to use the FSM website for checking their children's eligibility for Free School Meals.
The following information will need to be entered :
Parent's NI/NASS number
Parent's Date of birth
Parent's full name
When the check is complete and your child is eligible a 'Certificate of Eligibility' will be available for a parent to print or email and given to their child's school.
Our Intent. We are committed to safeguarding the privacy of users who use the Free School Meals Eligibility Checker (FSM) website service and we will only use the information we collect about you lawfully.
Changes to Data Protection Legislation. Data Protection legislation is currently going through a period of change. The introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the basis of change and has been applied from the 25 May 2018 by The Data Protection Act 2018.
Data Subject’s Privacy Notice. This Privacy Notice should be read by Data Subjects, i.e. “you,” or any identifiable person using the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) FSM Eligibility Checker service.
The Data Controller. On behalf of the data controllers, who are schools (including nurseries and colleges), the LGfL provides an FSM website to enable them to claim additional funding to enhance education and provide free school meals for eligible children.
The Data Processor. This FSM website https://pps.lgfl.org.uk is owned and operated by LGfL. Our contact details are:
Data Protection Officer (DPO). Each school (including nurseries and colleges) will have a DPO. LGfL have appointed a DPO who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All DPOs, including the LGfL’s, fulfil a number of roles one of which is to be the primary and independent point of contact for Data Subjects, namely you. To raise concerns regarding the processing of your personal data by the LGfL, please email or send a letter to our contact details above, at which point the enquiry will be forwarded to the DPO of the Data Controller or respective member of staff for action.
Purpose of Processing Personal Data. We collect personal data on this website primarily to support the process of FSM Eligibility Checker service. The FSM service allows parents/guardians to check their eligibility for free school meals, therefore enabling the school to apply for additional funding to improve children’s education, including the provision of free school meals.
Lawful Basis of Processing Personal Data When Visiting This Website. The lawful basis of processing your personal data when using the FSM checker is assessed to be: Consent. Namely you, the parent or guardian must agree for your details to be submitted into the FSM checker.
Categories of Personal Data Processed by LGfL. The personal data collected during the FSM process is to support the eligibility checking process. Across all the LGfL processes and services we will seek to ensure all personal data is accurate and up to date. The personal data which we hold will be held securely and in accordance with our internal data protection and security policies.
The information required for FSM is:
Parent’s/Guardian’s first name;
Parent’s/Guardian’s last name;
Parent’s/Guardian’s date of birth; and
Parent’s/Guardian’s National Insurance (NI) Number (or National Asylum Seeker Service (NASS) Number).
Category of Recipients of Personal Data. LGfL acts as a Data Processor on behalf of schools (includes nurseries and colleges for the purposes of this Privacy Notice) to enable them to apply for additional education funding for eligible children. This is achieved by parents/guardians, or the school on their behalf, conducting an online check by entering their personal details and the name and school of at least one child.
The FSM checker links to a Department of Education (DfE) portal which links to a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) database. This enables an immediate decision to be available to the parent/guardian making the check.
Schools that have ‘FSM Administrators’ will be able to see the results of all parents/guardians connected with their school and their children. On occasions, schools may do the FSM check on behalf of parents /guardians who have consented to this.
For parents who are eligible for FSM, schools will be able to submit applications to their respective local authority or if appropriate directly to the DfE, to claim the additional funding.
The results from the FSM eligibility checking service merely provide information to schools that some of the parents are eligible. Local authorities can have FSM Administrators set up also, so that they can see who is eligible at their respective schools. It is up to each school how they work with their local authorities for processing the claims.
Transfer of Personal Data Outside the EEA (European Economic Area). There is no personal data involved in FSM transferred outside the EEA.
Sensitive Personal Data. There is no Sensitive Personal Data collected and processed under the FSM process. However, it is recognised the economic situation of eligible parents/guardians must be handled within strictest confidence, whilst carrying out the claiming of additional funding from the DfE.
Retention of Personal Data. The data collected to support FSM is held until the Student leaves an LGfL connected school or college. Schools and LAs may hold the data obtained from the FSM Checker for longer due to the requirements of the Finance Act if it is used to apply for the Pupil Premium. This time period is to enable ease of checking by schools to allow the claiming of Pupil Premium as appropriate throughout the duration of a Student’s education, this could be up to 25 years of age.
Data Subject’s Rights. Under data protection legislation you have a number of Rights which we have outlined below:
Right of Access. You are entitled to access your personal data so that you are aware of and can verify the lawfulness of the processing. This should be achieved through submitting a Subject Access Request (SAR) to the Data Controller, which is the school. If you are a data controller of this system and require any assistance, please log this via the LGfL support website at support.lgfl.net. In summary, you have the right to obtain:
Fees and Timings. This information will be provided without charge; without delay and within one month. If an extension is required or requests are considered manifestly unfounded or excessive, in particular because they are repetitive, LGfL may choose to: charge a reasonable fee taking into account the administrative costs of providing the information; or refuse to respond. The reasons for this will be formally notified to you and your rights to appeal to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) https://ico.org.uk will be highlighted.
Identify Verification. To protect your personal data, LGfL will seek to verify your identity before releasing any information, which will normally be in electronic format.
Right of Rectification. You are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete. This can be achieved directly through logging into the LGfL USO account and amending the details about yourself. LGfL will support your request under instruction from the relevant school or Local Authority or school, so you should have a response within one month of your request. In the unlikely event LGfL does not take action to the request for rectification, LGfL will inform you of your rights to complain or seek judicial remedy.
Right of Erasure. You may request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing. The Right to Erasure does not provide an absolute ‘right to be forgotten,’ especially once the FSM processing has started. However, you do have a right to have personal data erased and to prevent processing in specific circumstances:
Right to Restrict Processing. When processing is restricted, LGfL is permitted to store the personal data, but not further process it. In this event exactly what is held and why will be explained to you.
Right to Data Portability. You may request to obtain and reuse your personal data for your own purposes across different services. This allows you to move, copy or transfer personal data easily from one IT environment to another in a safe and secure way, without hindrance to usability. The Right to Data Portability only applies:
In these circumstances LGfL will provide a copy of your data in CSV format free of charge, without undue delay and within one month. If there is a delay to this, you will be informed.
Right to Object. You have the right to object to:
Processing based on legitimate interests or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority (including profiling);
Direct marketing (including profiling); and
Processing for purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics.
Automated Decision Making and Profiling. The FSM does do automated decision-making with the equivalent of legal effect, i.e. eligibility to claim free school meals and other additional funding for the school that the pupil attends. This is based upon DWP and DfE policy, therefore if a parent or guardian disagrees they should approach the school for an appeal or understanding of how the decision was based.
Cookies. This section outlines the type of cookies we apply to our FSM website https://pps.lgfl.org.uk and the services we offer. By using the website, you agree your personal information will be handled as described in this Privacy Notice. The cookies we may use on our website are described as below:
Strictly Necessary Cookies - These are cookies that allow you to use different parts of our website. Without them different features that you have requested cannot be provided. These are usually set in response to an action performed by the user like clicking on a link or failing to enter the correct password to your account.
First Party Cookies - These are cookies that are set by our website. And only we can read them.
Session Cookies - These are stored while you browse our site and then deleted once you leave.
Performance Cookies - These help us to track how people are using our site. They help us to know what pages people are using most and how users navigate around the site, we use this information to make informed decision about how we can improve the user experience of our site. The information we get using these cookies is completely anonymous and we will make no attempt to identify you or influence your experience of our site while you are on it.
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