With the rising cost of living increasing pressure on local families, parents and guardians are being reminded to check if their children are eligible for free school meals.

Under the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme, all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in Wolverhampton – around 10,600 children in total – can receive a healthy, cooked lunch for free.

Parents do not need to register to receive these meals, but many schools will ask if their child wants them so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

Meanwhile, around 14,100 more Wolverhampton pupils in Year 3 and above are eligible for means tested free school meals because their families meet certain eligibility criteria, for instance they are in receipt of specific benefits like Income Support, Income based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance or others. 

Full details of this criteria can be found at Free school meals, and parents who believe their children are eligible for free school meals should contact their school as soon as possible. Anyone who is unsure whether or not they have a current means tested claim should ask at school or email freeschoolmeals@wolverhampton.gov.uk to check; they do not need to start a new application.

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, said: “Nearly 25,000 children and young people in Wolverhampton are currently eligible to receive delicious and nutritious school lunches for free, and given the rising cost of living I know this will be very welcome news to families.

"If you are eligible, and your child is not already taking advantage of this opportunity, I would encourage you to contact your school as soon as possible to find out more.

“Even if you are not eligible for free school meals, they offer excellent value for money and save parents the time, cost and effort of shopping for and creating healthy packed lunches every day; they can also relax knowing their children are well fed and able to socialise with friends in a safe environment."

To check out the primary and secondary school menus provided by the council, please visit School menus. For more information on free school meals, please visit Free school meals
For every child that is registered for means-tested free school meals, schools receive valuable Pupil Premium funding from the Government. Therefore, even if parents intend to provide packed lunches for their eligible child, they are still encouraged to register with their school so the school receives this funding.

If you are struggling in any way at the moment with the cost of living crisis, the council might be able to help give some support with energy bills, food or even just a warm space where you can recharge yourself and your devices. Find out more at Cost of living support.