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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.

Welsh Government’s pupil development grant (Access)

The Welsh Government’s pupil development grant helps eligible pupils purchase distinctive school uniform, equipment, sports kit and kit for activities outside of school. The scheme is targeted specifically at pupils who are eligible for free school meals, but not those whose eligibility is transitionally protected. They must be:

  • entering reception class in primary school
  • entering year seven of secondary school
  • aged 11 at the start of the school year in special schools, special needs resource bases or pupil referral units

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.

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.

Contact

Financial assessments and benefits team

Bridgend County Borough Council
Telephone: 01656 643 396

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