School Meals


Frequently Asked Questions


Only complete the application form if you are a Tameside Resident

Why choose school meals?

School meals offer a selection of freshly cooked main meals and desserts every day, often including pasta, salad, fresh fruit and yoghurt.
A number of schools offer a pre-order system where you and your child can order the daily main course option in advance.
All meals are nutritionally balanced and are served by friendly catering staff. Children can sit down together and enjoy their meal whilst at the same time developing social skills of eating together that are so important in later life.
A well fed and happy child is more likely to be receptive to participating in the afternoon's activities.
Convenience. Someone else preparing and cooking lunch for your child saves you worrying about a packed meal every day.


Universal Infant Free School Meals

From September schools will be offering all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 a free school meal. The Government are introducing Infant Free School Meals following an independent review of school food which found that where all children had been given a free school meal they were months ahead of their peers in their school work.

For further details of the School Meals Menu

Find more information on the Government website #


How do I pay for my child's meals?

You can now pay for your school meals on-line here using a credit/debit card

You can also pay by sending dinner money into school on a weekly basis. The school will advise which day of the week is most convenient (usually each Monday).

Free School Meals

Free school meals are offered to children of families who are on low income in receipt of Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related), Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income based) or Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit. They are also offered to children of families who are in receipt of Child Tax Credit only, but who are not entitled to Working Tax Credit, and whose annual income (as assessed by the Inland Revenue) does not exceed £16,190.00. If you are in receipt of Child Tax Credit, you will need to attend one of the Council's Customer Service Centre’s and present your Child Tax Credit award notice.

How do I apply for free school meals?

There are 4 easy ways to apply for free school meals:

Free School Meals can be claimed by Parents or Guardians of pupil’s who are on a low income. All claims will be processed by the Benefits Section at Tameside Council with the target date of 3 days.

Eligible income includes Universal Credit, Income Support, JSA(IB), Guaranteed Credit, ESA(IR), Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) provided the Household income does not exceed £16,190 as assessed by HM Revenues and Customs.

With effect from the 1 September 2013 children aged 16-18 can also receive free school meals where they attend an establishment where school provision is provided.

These establishments are:

  • Audenshaw School Academy Trust

*The on-line form can be completed directly by you only if you are in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based) or the Guaranteed Element of State Pension Credit otherwise you should apply as part of a Housing and Council Tax Support claim or come in person to our Customer Services Offices.

How often do I have to apply?

You should apply when you first start to receive benefit. You will receive automatic notification when your application is due for renewal.

How is it paid?

High School children receive tokens to purchase their midday meals at school on a weekly basis. Primary School children are simply marked into the dinner register, whether free or paid meals, and receive a school meal each day.

What if my circumstances change?

You should notify the school and also the Benefits Department of any changes:

Special diets

You should contact your school if you have any special dietary requirements.

Medical diets can be provided. Please let your school know if your child has been prescribed a medical diet. Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us so that we can help your child enjoy their lunch.

On 13th December 2014, the Food Information for Consumers Regulation 1169/2011 (EU FIC) changes the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is prepacked, sold loose or served out of home. From this date caterers must be able to answer any consumer queries regarding the 14 major food allergens that have been identified as issues for people living across Europe. 

What are the benefits of my child having a school meal?

Provides a balanced meal which improves concentration and learning in the afternoon.
Introduces your child to a wide range of foods
Children can sit down at a table together and enjoy a meal, whilst at the same time developing the social skills of eating together.
Saves parents valuable time, money and energy in preparing packed lunches. Many packed lunches are very high in fat, sugar and additives.

Enquiries regarding Free School Meals:

Postal AddressBenefits Team, Tameside MBC, Council Offices, PO Box 304; Ashton-under-Lyne; Tameside; OL6 0GA
Telephone Number 0161 342 3708
Fax Number 0161 342 2676
Send Electronic Message Send a Message to Free School Meals