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Free School Meals


​Tameside Council no longer administrates the Free School Meal system, this is now done by St Damian’s. Tameside MBC and St Damian’s would like everyone to apply, even if you do not think you are eligible. This is due to local statistics that show eligible parents are missing out on their entitlement to free school meals. 

Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below;

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit

  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC

  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit


How do I apply for free school meals?

Free School Meals can be claimed by Parents or Guardians of pupil’s who are on a low income. Please click on the link below:

Click here to apply


If you are unable to complete this online free school meal checker, St Damian’s can do this for you. For St Damian’s to be able to apply for free school meals on your behalf you would need to complete the OFSM Form, available on the link below. Once we receive these details then we will make the application on your behalf and you will get an e-mail or text message to inform you of your result.


          OFSM Form



Once the form has been completed you will receive the result immediately. If the result is Eligible (ECS) then St Damian’s can then provide your child with Free School Meals. The system automatically informs St Damian’s of any changes each evening. If the online system gives the result Not Found (Pending) and you have evidence that you are eligible, the supporting evidence as indicated below, will need to be provided to St Damian’s.


Supporting paper based evidence

For families that are eligible for free school meals but have received a Not Found (Pending) result will need to provide the following evidence to be awarded Free School Meals


For applications based on tax credit entitlement: The latest tax credit statement form TC602 from HM Revenue & Customs.


For applications based on Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance: You can request a letter from Jobcentre Plus confirming eligibility or an Income Support payment book.


For families that might be eligible for free school meals under Universal Credit:  A copy of your Universal Credit award statement (from your most recent assessment period(s) – going back a maximum of three assessment periods).The three relevant Universal Credit assessment periods would be the three complete assessment periods which immediately preceded the date on which you request free school meals. You only need to provide one of these statements.


For families that are eligible for free school meals under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 or the guarantee element of the Pension Credit -

a letter from the Asylum Seekers Team or the National Asylum Support Service (Home Office) (NASS) stating that they are receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999;

a ‘Pension Credit M1000 Award Notice’ clearly showing details of any Guarantee Pension Credit in payment


Once you have provided the supporting evidence that you are entitled to Free School Meals St Damian’s can then arrange for Free School Meals to be supplied to your child.

I don’t currently claim free school meals – what does this mean for me?

If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, you can submit a claim by following the link to the Application Form. The Information you provide will be used to check if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and, if you are on Universal Credit, that your earnings do not exceed the threshold. If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods.


For further information and guidance please email; or contact the school office.

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