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Grants for pupils

Free school meals

Children and young people attending school full time may be entitled to receive free school meals.

Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you are in receipt of any of the following benefits or support payments:

  • income support
  • income based jobseekers allowance
  • support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • child tax credit with no working tax credit and an annual income of less than £16,190
  • guarantee element of state pension credit
  • working tax credit 'run-on'. This is the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for working tax credit
  • universal credit

If you are applying for the first time, you can make your application at any time during the school year.

If you have a child already receiving free school meals, you will still need to complete an application for any other children that start school. Siblings do not automatically receive free school meals.

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child might also get free school meals if you receive any of these benefits and your child is both:

  • younger than the compulsory age for starting school
  • in full-time education

Application forms are available from the financial assessments and benefits team or each school.

Pupil Development Grant, PDG Access Grant

The PDG Access Grant is a new grant that has been introduced by the Welsh Government. It helps families on low incomes buy:

  • school uniform, including coats and shoes
  • school sports kit, including footwear
  • uniform for enrichment activities, like scouts, guides, cadets, martial arts, sports, performing arts or dance
  • equipment, such as school bags and stationery
  • specialist equipment where new curriculum activities begin such as design and technology
  • equipment for out of school hours trips such as waterproof clothing for outdoor learning

This funding cannot be used for IT equipment such as mobile phones and tablets.

You may be able to receive up to £125 per eligible child.

Looked-after children and pupils eligible for free school meals may be able to receive this grant if they are:

  • entering reception class in a maintained primary school
  • entering year seven in a maintained secondary school
  • aged four or 11 in special schools, special needs resource bases or pupil referral units

Asylum seeker pupils entering reception or year seven in the 2018/19 school year can also receive this grant, if they fulfil the eligibility criteria.

Distinctive school clothing grant
This is different to the school uniform grant because it is discretionary which means each secondary school decides how much to offer.

It is for pupils attending secondary school, and has similar eligibility criteria to free school meals. It is intended to go towards the cost of distinctive school clothing, such as blazers or ties.

Application forms are available in the spring term from either the school or the financial assessments and benefits team. You can find contact details at the bottom of this page. Please return your form before the last week of the spring term to prevent delays in receiving your grant.

This grant is not available for pupils attending infant, junior or primary schools.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

Education Maintenance Allowance is payable to pupils and students in full time education after the age of 16. It is based on household income.

The scheme is not run by us. To find out more, either contact your school or Student Finance Wales.


Financial assessments and benefits team

Bridgend County Borough Council
Telephone: 01656 643 396

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