Online applications open for free school meals and uniform grants

Date published: 28 June 2021

Families entitled to extra support with school meals and uniforms can now apply online.

Online applications open for free school meals and uniform grants
Online applications open for free school meals and uniform grants

Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen said: “The Education Authority (EA) has sought to improve services for families by making it easier for them to apply for this important service.

“I would encourage all parents and guardians of children eligible to Free School Meals to apply now to the EA for the new school academic year.

“This service provides vital support for low income families and ensures that children have access to a nutritious meal when at school as well as helping with the costs of school uniforms.

“I recognise not everyone has digital access so paper application forms will continue to be available on request from the EA and support is also available through its helpdesk.”

Applications can be made online at: Parents who do not have digital access and wish to request a paper application or seeking help with an online application should contact the EA helpdesk on 028 9041 8044, Monday - Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Education Authority (EA) is responsible for the administration of applications for Free School Meals and Uniform Grants.
  2. Eligibility criteria are outlined on the EA website at: Eligibility criteria
  3. Applications for Free School Meals and Uniform Grants are made on an annual basis and a fresh application is required for each new academic year. The application process has moved online for the academic year 2021/22 with entitlement to begin from September.
  4. Those applicants on legacy benefits (Income Support; Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance; Income Related Employment and Support Allowance; Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit) no longer need to get documents verified in Jobs and Benefits Offices or upload documentation as the EA has arranged for the Department for Communities to verify legacy benefits. Applicants who are in receipt of Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit need to upload documents during the application process. 
  5. In year applications for the current school year (2020/21) will continue to be processed using paper application forms and need to be with the EA by Wednesday 30 June 2021.
  6. Parents wishing to request a paper application should contact the EA helpdesk which operates Monday - Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm (tel: 02890 418044 or email:
  7. Follow us on Twitter @Education_ni
  8. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at:
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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