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School Meals

There is no payment required for pupils who attend as boarders. However, pupils who attend as extended day, or day pupils do need to pay for school lunch as in mainstream settings. Parents of all pupils who think that they may qualify for free school meals should complete the relevant form (available form school) and register. Parents of pupils who do not qualify for free meals will be required to pay for lunch at the current rate of £2.50 per day.

Information about our freshly prepared and healthy school meals, including sample menus for primary and secondary schools.

Our school meals follow a healthy eating policy and are produced freshly every day in a school kitchen from only:

  • fresh meat and poultry sourced from the region;
  • fruit and vegetables sourced regionally where possible using local suppliers;
  • products free from additives associated with health problems in young children;
  • fats free from hydrogenated oils; with
  • menus that are nutritionally balanced

You can  view our school meals food policy here (pdf / 110 KB).

From September 2014 key stage one children (reception, years 1 and 2) are entitled to a free school meal. For key stage two pupils (years 3, 4, 5 and 6) there is a charge for school meals. The average is £2.25. Schools set their own meal prices so you should check with your child's school for price and payment arrangements.

In our primary schools our meals;

  • have a three-menu cycle, allowing children to become familiar with the food served;
  • are changed every term to reflect the seasons; and 
  • are written in consultation with pupils and cooks.

View our  primary school single menu here (pdf / 4 MB) and view our  primary school choice menu here (pdf / 4 MB).

Secondary schools operate a cafeteria system with a wide choice of lunches: 

  • you can eat Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian or Spanish dishes;
  • have a meal deal with an apple, drink and a cheese sandwich; or
  • have a freshly made two-course lunch every day.

Pupils pay on the day. Some secondary schools have a cashless system and pupils are issued with smart cards or use their finger or thumb print to identify themselves. Your secondary school will tell you if it operates this system and how you can pay for meals in advance.

You can view  our secondary school sample menu here (pdf / 2 MB).

Frequently asked questions

Our caterers can provide medical, religious or cultural diets. Please write to the headteacher of your child's school stating the required diet. Medical diets will require a letter from a doctor or dietician.

Our caterers are happy to meet you to discuss our menus to ensure they conform to the particular diet.

Our cooks receive training and advice on a wide range of dietary needs, including nut allergies, egg-free, gluten free and dairy-free diets, diabetic, vegetarian and vegan.

Please speak to your school if you have concerns.

Catering staff in schools have all received the relevant hygiene training.

Throughout their employment they receive additional training including:

  • NVQs in catering skills and professional cookery;
  • nutrition and healthy eating;
  • health and safety; and
  • customer care

All our catering is monitored to ensure meals are safe, of high quality and value for money. Monitoring officers visit each school unannounced at least twice a year to carry out a kitchen audit. In addition, district council environmental health officers regularly inspect our school kitchens.

Free School Meals

Free school meals are available to all key stage one pupils and to children whose parents receive certain benefits.

From 1 April 2018 the Government introduced new regulations for people claiming free schools meals who receive Universal Credit. The change means that if your net annual earnings are more than £7,400 you will not be eligible to claim free school meals.

Pupils who received free school meals before 1 April 2018 and pupils who are assessed as eligible after 1 April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the universal roll out period, which is expected to be March 2022. This applies even if they no longer meet the eligibility criteria at a subsequent point during the roll out period.

At the end of the Universal Credit roll out period, any existing pupil who no longer meets the eligibility criteria will continue to receive free school meals until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary school.

To qualify for free school meals you must fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • Universal Credit, provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods (£616.67 per month);
  • Income Support;
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance;
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
  • Support under part six of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999;
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit;
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are also not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual household gross income that does not exceed £16,190 (as assessed by HMRC); or
  • Working Tax Credit run-on, paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

Please note that contributions-based benefits, including contribution-related Jobseekers' Allowance do not entitle you to claim free school meals.

If you meet the criteria, apply by using the  application form (pdf / 263 KB).

Applications are usually processed within five working days. You will be notified in writing, either by post or email, if your child is entitled and we will also let the school know. You should continue to pay until confirmation comes through. Schools may be able to arrange reimbursement of payment made while your entitlement is being confirmed.

Free school meals claims cannot be backdated. They are awarded from the date we receive the application, once eligibility is confirmed. This is because there is a legal requirement for a request to be made, before a free school meal can be provided.

If you are not entitled to free school meals, you will be notified in writing.

If your child is in reception, year one or year two they are automatically entitled to a free school meal. Parents who are on benefits and meet the above criteria are still encouraged to  apply for additional funding (pdf / 337 KB), known as pupil premium funding. This benefits the school and helps increase your child's attainment. During the current roll out of Universal Credit if your child is approved for free school meals they will gain 'transitional protection' until at least March 2022.

Frequently asked questions

Nursery children are entitled to free meals if they meet all the following criteria:

  • Their parents receive one of the qualifying benefits for free school meals;
  • The child receives education before and after the lunch time period;
  • The child is in a maintained nursery provision; and
  • The parents, or another responsible adult, have made a claim for a free meal.

Post-16 students can receive free school meals.

If your child attends the sixth form in a North Yorkshire school, claims will normally be administered by the county council.

If your child attends a further education college you should apply for free school meals by contacting the college directly.

Although we would normally process application forms for all pupils attending local authority maintained schools, this is not always the case if a school becomes an academy.

Contact the welfare team on 01609 533405 for more information.

With effect from April 2013 the council is no longer allowed to retain funding to help smooth the cost of meals provision across schools.

One of the impacts of this change is that we can no longer set a standard price for the cost of a school meal in North Yorkshire schools. It is for each school to decide how much to charge parents for a school meal and therefore the value of a free school meal may vary from school to school.

You can see sample menus on our school meals page.