Free school meals and clothing grant
A guide to the types of support that are available, eligibility and how you can apply.
If you have school-age children and are on a low income, you may be entitled to financial support with:
- school meals
- school clothes and footwear
In this guide, we explain:
- what this support involves
- the eligibility criteria
- how you can apply
There's separate guidance on free meals for nursery-age children.
Children who reside in Stirling but attend school out with Stirling Council
If you reside in Stirling Council area but your child/children attend a school out with Stirling council authority please apply to the Council where your child’s school is situated.
Application will not be backdated and start from the date you are approved.
Free school meals for children in P1 to P5
In council-run schools, all children in these years can get free school meals. You do not need to apply for this.
If your child is not getting free school meals, please contact us.
Holiday payments for children in P1 to P5
In some cases, we can also pay the cash value of your child's school meals into your bank account during the school holidays. You can get these payments if you meet the eligibility criteria.
You must submit an application if you want to receive these payments.
Free school meals for children in P6 to S6
You can apply for free school meals for your child, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. You can do this at any point during the school year.
If your application is successful, we'll:
- ensure your child receives free school meals during term time
- transfer the cash value of your child's school meals into your bank account during school holidays
Clothing and footwear grant
If you want to apply for a clothing and footwear grant for the 2023–24 school year, you must do this by 31 December 2023.
If you're on a low income, you might be entitled to a payment towards your child's clothing and footwear costs. This will depend on whether you meet the eligibility criteria.
Your child can get free school meals and a grant for clothing and footwear if you receive:
- Universal Credit — where you earn less than £726 a month
- Income Support
- Job Seeker's Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and you earn less than £18,725
- both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit, and you have an income of up to £8,717
Your child is entitled to a clothing and footwear grant, but not free school meals, if (both apply):
- you receive Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit
- your income is between £8,717 and £18,725 a year
Upper age limits
Free school meals
A child who’s 16 to 18 can still get free school meals, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
Clothing and footwear grant
A child cannot get a clothing and footwear grant if they:
- are already 16 or over
- will turn 16 on or before 30 September 2023
However, if they cannot get a clothing grant because of their age, they might be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance. You can find out more about this support, including when applications will open, on our Education Maintenance Allowance page.
Families experiencing financial hardship
In some circumstances, you can ask for 4 weeks of flexible free school meals. You can do this if any of these apply:
- you’re entitled to Universal Credit but are waiting for payments to start
- you do not yet have the documents you need to send us a free school meals application
- your family circumstances have changed
If you think you're eligible for these flexible meals, contact your child’s school or nursery and ask them to apply on your behalf.