Eligible families encouraged to apply for free school meals, clothing grants and EMA

School dinner lady with two young pupils at a dining table

Published: Monday, 10th June 2019

We are encouraging eligible families to make sure they are receiving the free school meals and footwear and clothing grants they may be entitled to.

Support is also available to young people aged 16 to 19  from low income households through the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) programme to help them to continue to learn.

Free school meals

Free school meals are available to all Primary 1-3 pupils and older children if their parent or carer is in receipt of certain benefits. As a result of new legislation that came into force last year, children are also eligible if they receive funded early learning and childcare over lunchtime and their parent or carer receives a qualifying benefit.

Clothing and footwear grants

Clothing and footwear grants of up to £100 per child per school year are also available to parents or carers in receipt of certain benefits.

More information on school meals and clothing grants is available on our website. Applications for the 2019/2020 session are open from Monday 17 June.  

EMA

EMA of £30 a week is available to eligible young people who are attending non-advanced education in school, college or a community or voluntary provision. Young people who engage in an Activity Agreement for more than nine hours a week and home schooled pupils can also apply. Payments are dependent on attendance at school or college and are not paid during school holidays or when attendance is below 100 percent.

More information on EMA is available on our website. Applications for the 2019/2020 session are open from Monday 17 June. 

Contact us

Parents can also speak to Customer Services by phoning 0300 100 1800 or visiting one of our contact centres 

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People

“It is vital that eligible parents make sure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to by way of free school meals and clothing grants.

“For families on low incomes, these additional savings can be of tremendous support to help balance their weekly budgets, but also in making sure that children are receiving a nutritious meal at lunchtime with all the learning benefits that this can bring.

“There are a number of advantages to wearing a school uniform including giving pupils a sense of pride and belonging in their school but also in terms of preventing competition between them, which can be especially helpful for parents and carers who are doing their best to manage on a low income.” 

“For young people, EMA is not only an incentive to attend school on a regular basis but it can also be used to learn the budgeting and money management skills which are so important in later life.”

Further Information

Free school meals are automatically available to all P1-3 pupils. Children who receive funded early learning and childcare over lunchtime and older children whose parents are in receipt of the following benefits are also eligible:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, with an annual income less than £16,105
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit with an annual income less than £6,900
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with monthly earnings less than £610.

School clothing and footwear grants are paid once per child per school year between August and the following March for parents or carers in receipt of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit and/or maximum Child Tax Credit with an income less than £16,105
  • Both maximum Child Tax Credit and maximum Working Tax Credit with an annual income less than £6,900
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with monthly earnings less than £610.

All meals in our primary schools are produced locally and are carefully planned to meet national nutritional standards set by the Scottish Government. Recipes using less fat, sugar and salt are used to ensure that menus are as healthy, better balanced and nutritious as possible and meet the dietary requirements of the majority of pupils.

Secondary pupils are offered a wide range of meals and snacks including a grab and go service that allows them to pre-order and pay for lunch during the morning break for quick collection at lunchtime. Parents of children who have special dietary requirements are encouraged to contact our Catering Team for advice on how these can be accommodated.

EMA payments are administered by ourselves on behalf of the Scottish Government.