Renfrewshire Council

Latest update to school meals due to the phased opening of schools and nurseries in Renfrewshire

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Free school meals and clothing grants

You may be able to apply for free school meals and a clothing grant if you are a parent or guardian of a child and are in receipt of particular benefits.

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Financial payments in lieu of free school meals during term time

During the phased reopening of schools in January to April 2021, families of children and young people entitled to free school meals on the basis of low income will receive financial payments if their child is learning at home (not attending school). The payments are £11.25 per child per week and will be made as follows:

  • a payment by Friday 15 January to cover the period 7-15 January
  • a payment by Friday 22 January to cover the period 18-29 January
  • a payment by Friday 5 February to cover the period 1-12 February
  • a payment by Friday 19 February to cover the period 15-19 February
  • a payment by Friday 26 February to cover the period 22 February-12 March
  • a payment by Friday 19 February to cover the period 15 March-1 April.

A final payment to children in nursery and P1 to P3 was made on Thursday 18 February.

A final payment to children in P4 to P7 was made on Thursday 25 February. 

Young people in S1 to S6 who are entitled to a free school meal on the basis of low income will continue to receive financial payments until they return to school full time. 

Between Friday 2 and Friday 16 April, all pupils at school will be on holiday. See financial payments in lieu of free school meals over Easter holidays for details on payments during this holiday period.

From Monday 19 April, all secondary school pupils should have returned to school full time, subject to Scottish Government review. This means the final payment for S1 to S6 pupils should be made by Friday 19 February.  

Financial payments in lieu of free school meals over Easter holidays

During the Easter holidays, we will make a payment of £24.75 to all eligible children and young people, including young children in nursery. The payment will be made by Wednesday 7 April.

£100 Spring Hardship Payment

Scottish government have confirmed that children who receive a free school meal on the basis of low income are eligible for an additional £100 spring hardship payment. If you are eligible to apply for free school meals and haven't previously applied for it this school year (2020-21), please apply as soon as possible so that you can receive this payment.

Anyone who already receives a free school meal on the basis of low income will receive their payment directly into their bank account. You do not need to apply again.

We will make a payment by Monday 29 March. Anyone who applies after Thursday 25 March will receive the payment as soon as possible in April. 

Children who receive a universal free school meal (nursery and P1-P3 pupils) are not eligible for this payment unless they are eligible on the basis of low income. Further information on the COVID spring hardship payment (£100 per child) can be found on Scottish Government's website.


What is included in free school meals

This gives your child one free meal on every day that they are at school.

All children in Primary 1- Primary 3 all receive a free school meal as part of Scottish Government policy.

If your child, or the child you care for, is in Primary 4 or above, you can apply online for free school meals

You can apply for free school meals at any time in the school year.

Free school meal applications received now are only paid from the date the application is processed. The payment is not backdated.


What a clothing grant is

A clothing grant is a payment to help you buy school uniforms. If you qualify, we'll give you one grant for each child during any school year. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for a clothing grant for nursery children.

The clothing grant is £100 per eligible pupil.


Who can apply for clothing grants and free school meals

You can apply for free school meals and or clothing grants if

  • your child, or the child you care for, goes to a Renfrewshire primary, secondary or special school
  • you receive specific benefits, see the table below.
Benefit ReceivedFree School MealsClothing GrantProof Required
Dated within the past six months
Income SupportYesYesDWP award letter or current Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602) which
shows entitlement to this benefit. All pages required
Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based)YesYesDWP award letter or current Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602) which
shows entitlement to this benefit. All pages required
Employment & Support Allowance
(Income Related)
YesYesDWP award letter or current Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602) which
shows entitlement to this benefit. All pages required
Child Tax Credit with a gross annual income below £16,105 with no element of Working Tax CreditYesYesCurrent Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602). All pages required
Maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit with annual income below £7,330YesYesCurrent Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602). All pages required
Support Under part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999YesYes

Confirmation Letter/Home Office

Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £610YesYesUniversal Credit awards notice 
Housing BenefitNoYesCurrent Letter to show receipt of Housing Benefit
Council Tax reductionNoYesCurrent Letter to show receipt of Council Tax reduction
Working Tax Credit with an annual income under £16,105NoYesCurrent Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602). All pages required
Child Tax Credit with an annual income under £16,105NoYes

Current Tax Credit Award Notice (TC602). All pages required


What evidence you need to provide

Have a look at the table above for details of the proof you need to give us to support your application.

All Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Housing Benefit/Council Tax award letters must be dated within the past six months.

If you need a copy of your award letter, you can contact the relevant government department:

If your child has previously received free school meals, or received a clothing grant you don't need to do anything.  We will be writing to you to ask that you confirm some details for us before we process your application. 


Apply for a clothing grant or free school meals

 complete the new application for a clothing grant and free school meals if

  • you are applying for the first time
  • your circumstances have changed in the past year.

You must attach the proof of benefits you currently receive and include the supporting evidence asked for on the form.


Renew your clothing grant and free school meals

You can apply again for a clothing grant and free school meals if you:

  • were awarded it before for your children in the last school year
  • were in receipt of qualifying benefits
  • there have been no changes to your circumstances.

You will be asked for your 12 digit reference number. This is located at the top left-hand corner of the letter which you received in July 2020.


Clothing grant payments are made by faster payment direct to your bank account or by a cheque that will be posted to you. Normally, you'll get the payment within three weeks of your application being approved. 

If you don't have a bank account yourself, you can use a trusted account (e.g. a relative) as this will ensure payment is received quickly.  It also allows you to receive ongoing payments for Free School Meals while schools are operating with coronavirus restrictions.

If your child is 16 (before 30 September) and could leave school after June, you can still apply for a clothing grant and free school meals for them. 

If you are applying for a child who has never attended a Renfrewshire Council nursery or school before, we must wait until that child is enrolled before processing your application.