Free School Meals

We want to make sure that we are providing your child with the best education and support we can. Healthy school food has obvious health benefits and can help pupils establish healthy habits for life. Healthy school food can also help to improve pupils’ readiness to learn.  

Families who receive certain benefits may be eligible for free school meals.  Your child is eligible for free school meals if you’re in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400.
  • 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 guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for the four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
  • Child Tax Credit (with no Working Tax Credit) with an annual income of no more than £16,190

Registering for free meals could also raise an extra £1,320 for your child’s primary school £900 for your child’s secondary school, to fund valuable support like extra tuition, additional teaching staff or after school activities.

All KS1 children (Reception, year 1 and year 2) currently receive a free meal via the Universal Infant Free School Meal , however  additional money is available from central government for every child whose parent is receiving one of the benefits listed above. To check if your child is eligible, we need information about you and your child. We can do a very quick eligibility check for this additional funding via Durham County Council.

Absence during term time

Headteachers have the discretion to grant leave, but they should only do so in exceptional circumstances. If a headteacher grants a leave request, it will be for them to determine the length of time that the child can be away from school. This leave is unlikely, however, to be granted for the purposes of a family holiday.  Parents can be fined for taking their child on holiday during term time without consent from the school.


  • Time to spend with close family members who are serving in the Armed Force and are on leave
  • Bereavement
  • Significant family celebration
  • Religious observance
  • Where inflexibility of the parents’ leave is part of their employer’s policy (evidence or confirmation from the employer would be required)
  • Absence is recommended as part of parents’ or child’s rehabilitation from medical or emotional problems (evidence would be required)
  • When a family needs to spend time together to support each other or after a crisis
  • A one-off occasion that can only take place at the time requested

Taking a holiday during term time means that children miss important school time – both educationally and for other school activities. Before completing this application parents/carers are asked to consider the effect on their child’s continuity of education. Please ensure that your application fits one of the above criteria before applying and that you attach sufficient supporting documentary evidence if required/requested.

The 2007 regulations set out the procedures for issuing penalty notices (fines) to each parent who fails to ensure their children’s regular attendance at school or fails to ensure that their excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion. Parents must pay £60 within 21 days or £120 within 28 days. This brings attendance penalty notices into line with other types of penalty notices and allows local authorities to act faster on prosecutions.

Please ensure you have read and understand the new regulations (The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Amendment Regulations 2013 and The Education (Penalty Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013) which can be found at  before applying to take your child out of school during term time.

"Ours are the eyes through which His compassion looks out on the world. Ours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Ours are the hands with which he blesses the world." - St Teresa of Avila