For all details regarding catering/school meals at Simon Balle, please see below:

Free School Meals at Simon Balle All-through School


Many of our students are entitled to Free School Meals but there is often confusion as to exactly what this means and how it works across both phases of the school. We have created a set of frequently asked questions to clarify how it all works:


What are Free School Meals?

In England a Free School Meal (FSM) is a statutory benefit available to school- aged children from families who receive other qualifying benefits and who have been through the relevant registration process.


Is my child entitled to Free School Meals?

If your child is in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2 then they are automatically entitled to receive a meal every day as part of a separate scheme known as ‘Universal Infant Free School Meals’ (UIFSM). 


Children in Year 3 or older can get Free School Meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (as long as you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and you don't get more than £16,190 a year)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit (with annual earned income of no more than £7,400 after tax and not including any benefits you get).

My child qualifies for Free School Meals, how do I apply? 

Application can be made online and takes less than 5 minutes. In most cases you will get an instant decision and the school will automatically be notified. 


My child qualifies for Free School Meals but would prefer to bring a packed lunch in, should I still apply for Free School Meals?

Yes! The school receives funding from central government for all students who are eligible for Free School Meals, and this continues for several years. Some of this funding will be used specifically to support your child over the next 6 years.


I successfully applied for Free School Meals, now what happens?

Year 3 - Year 6 students: Please let us know if you would like your child to have school dinners. You can choose between two different meal patterns: 

  1. School dinners every day, or
  2. School dinners on Wednesdays and Fridays


Secondary students: The student’s dinner money account will automatically be updated for Free School Meals. In practice this means that students can spend up to £2.60 per day on food and drink items in the canteen, cafe and sixth form cafe. Any spend over this amount will need to paid for by topping the dinner money account up with cash.


What can my child buy with £2.60 per day?

In the secondary phase this will buy a main meal and a dessert from our menu. Your child can use the allowance on any food items but we believe the best value is gained by choosing a full meal and dessert at lunchtime. Please note that any spend over £2.60 per day will need to be met by topping the dinner money account up by cash.


What happens if my circumstances change and am no longer receiving any of the benefits listed above?

Once you have received confirmation that your child will receive Free School Meals, they will be eligible for the full academic year, even if circumstances change part-way through the year. 


Do I need to reapply for Free School Meals every year?

It is best to reapply for Free School Meals each year, this ensures we are using the most up to date information. It also ensures that we are able to access funding from central government for your child. 


My child receives Free School Meals but I’d like them to buy snacks as well as hot meals, how can I top their account up with more money?

No problem, you can top up their account using Parent Pay. This will also allow you to set automatic top ups to their dinner money if the balance falls below £0. If you need help accessing Parent Pay please contact us: 


Can I see what food and drink my child is buying with their Free School Meals money? 

Yes. Simply log into Parent Pay and you will be able to see all transactions on your child's dinner money account. 


If my child doesn’t spend the Free School Meal balance on one day will it roll over to the next day? 

No. The Free School Meals funding doesn’t accumulate. Any unspent amount will revert to zero each day so students will only have £2.60 on subsequent days. 


If you have any queries other queries regarding Free School Meals please email us at: