The Free School Meal Checking Service is an online process where parents can check eligibility for free school meals. Parents can conduct a simple online check to determine eligibility for free school meals which in turn may attract the extra funding for each of their children’s schools. Parents are not required to accept free meals but schools appreciate the help with conducting an online check.
How it works for parents:
After entering a few details into the website, the online application process links to the Department for Education database and gives an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.
This system is designed to eliminate the need to apply in person for free school meals and improve the claims process for schools. It also means that if you are eligible for free meals, the school is able to process your application using the information you submit.
There is no need to re-apply each year, as schools can recheck eligibility as required using the data already provided - although if your child moves to a different school then you will need to update your account.
In addition, the following pupils will be protected against losing their free school meals as follows:
- Pupils who were eligible on 1 April 2018, or who became eligible since then, continue to receive free meals, even if their household is no longer eligible under the benefits/low-earnings criteria, up until March 2025 and then until the end of their phase of education
- New applicants for free school meals on or after 1 April 2018, who are in receipt of Universal Credit and have earnings above the earned income threshold, will not be eligible for free school meals
The Universal Credit rollout is currently expected to complete in March 2025
We have made a couple of enhancements to the website:
LGfL schools can check eligibility on behalf of a parent, the parent will need to contact your child's school, as they can run a check on your behalf.
A parent of a child attending any LGfL school can now use this website to check their eligibility.
A Certificate of Eligibility is available through our website for any child eligible for a free school meal that is attending a school in England. The Certificate of Eligibility should be taken to your child's school.
How it works for schools:
As the government has now introduced free school meals for all children in Key Stage 1, it is more important than ever for schools to know how many pupils would otherwise be eligible for free meals as this may allow schools to apply for extra funding. These funds enable schools to take on more staff, invest in additional equipment, resources and activities to benefit all their children.
Schools wishing to encourage applications can promote the online eligibility checker to parents by publicising the following web address: fsm.lgfl.net.
Services available for LGfL schools:
After parents have submitted their details online, a suitably authorised school administrator will be able to facilitate the submission of claims by clicking on the ‘Administrators’ button and visiting the school administration section. The head teacher is an authorised school administrator by default but would normally nominate one or more staff members as additional administrators via this section of the site. Data will only be made available securely via this site. In order to use this FREE service, schools already subscribing to LGfL services by ensuring that MIS data is exported regularly and the school has configured an information status in the free OpenCheck service found at opencheck.lgfl.net.
All submitted data is stored securely in compliance with the Data Protection Act. For additional information regarding data please see our privacy statement.