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Grants for pupils

Free school meals (FSM)

If you live in Bridgend County Borough and receive any of the following benefits, you can claim free school meals for your school-aged child:

  • income support
  • income based jobseeker's allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • child tax credit (but not working tax credit) if your annual income as assessed by tax credits does not exceed £16,190
  • guarantee element of pension credit
  • working tax credit 'run-on' (the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for
  • working tax credit)
  • universal credit (not in work)
  • universal credit (in work) where your award is based on net annual earnings of under £7,400 from your employment or self-employment

Young people who receive income support or income-based job seekers allowance in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.

You can learn more about free school meals on the Welsh Assembly website.

You will be notified of the outcome of your application in writing or by email.

If you are eligible for free school meals, your child’s school will be notified so that they can update their records.

Free school meals are awarded for each child separately and not for the household. You will need to complete a new application form if you have another child starting school for the first time.

You do not need to re-apply if your child moves to another school in the borough. However, you should tell us if your child changes school so we can keep our records up to date.

If your child’s new school tells us they are a pupil there, we will update our records. We will also inform them of your child’s eligibility for free school meals.

Changes from 1 April 2019

Any pupil eligible for free school meals at the point an earned income threshold was introduced (1 April 2019) will have their eligibility protected. This will apply to all applicants until the end of the roll-out of universal credit which is currently scheduled for 31 December 2023. This applies even if their circumstances change. This protection also applies to those who receive legacy benefits, for example income support or income-based jobseekers allowance. This applies even if their circumstances change with the roll-out of universal credit.

Pupils who become eligible for free school meals under the amended criteria during universal credit’s roll-out will also retain their eligibility until the roll-out ends. The roll-out is expected to be from 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2023. This applies even if their circumstances change.

Once the roll-out of universal credit is complete, any transitionally protected child will continue to be eligible until the end of their current education phase. For example, they will continue to be protected until they finish primary or secondary school.

The correct form is ‘Application for free school meals/distinctive school uniform’ in the ‘Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction’ area of My Account.

Pupil Development  Grant (PDG Access) 2021-22

The Welsh Government PDG Access grant provides assistance to families on low incomes with the purchase of:

  • school uniform, including coats and shoes;
  • school sports kit, including footwear;
  • IT Equipment: laptop and tablets ONLY (PDG Access should only be used in a limited situation, where a family is unable to loan equipment from the school)
  • uniform for enrichment activities, for example, scouts; guides; cadets; martial arts; sports; performing arts or dance;
  • equipment, for example, 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 outdoor learning, for example, waterproof clothing.

The funding is available for pupils who are currently eligible for free school meals (but not those whose eligibility is transitionally protected), and entering:

  • Reception classes of maintained primary schools in September 2021 
  • Year 1 of maintained primary schools in September 2021
  • Year 2 of maintained primary schools in September 2021
  • Year 3 of maintained primary schools in September 2021
  • Year 4 of maintained primary schools in September 2021
  • Year 5 of maintained primary schools in September 2021
  • Year 6 of maintained primary schools in September 2021
  • Year 7 of maintained secondary schools in September 2021
  • Year 8 of maintained secondary schools in September 2021
  • Year 9 of maintained secondary schools in September 2021
  • Year 10 of maintained secondary schools in September 2021
  • Year 11 of maintained secondary schools in September 2021
  • Pupils in special schools, special needs resource bases and pupil referral units who will be aged 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15 in September 2021

The funding is also available to all looked after children of compulsory school age.

Pupils with no recourse to public funds and entering the above school years in the 2021-22 academic year should be entitled to assistance under this Funding.

Pupils who receive Free School Meals due to transitional protection arrangements do not qualify for this funding.

Funding of up to £125 is available for each eligible learner, with the exception of those learners entering Year 7 who will be entitled to a maximum grant of £200.

Forms can be printed and completed. All completed application forms must be returned to the school that the child will be attending in September 2021.

Application for Welsh Government Extended PDG Access Grant 2021-2022

For Pupils in Reception, Years 1 to 6  and Years 7 to 11

Closing date for applications is 30 June  2022

Please return completed form to school to be attended.

Distinctive school clothing grant

Allowances towards the cost of distinctive school clothing are made to pupils attending secondary schools. Allowances are payable at the start of each of the child’s first five years in secondary school.

Distinctive school clothing is currently provided for children where the parent or carer is in receipt of free school meals. This is determined on the qualifying date 13 weeks before the start date of the September term.

The grant will be automatically awarded if your child is eligible for free school meals unless their eligibility is transitionally protected. Please contact the individual school for details of how and when the grant will be issued.

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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