Covid-19 restrictions

We are now moving through the Prime Ministers roadmap out of lockdown. Everyone must stay local and follow the rules, which includes the rule of six outdoors.

More information on current restrictions and guidelines is available on the Government website.

Remember, advice around Covid-19 can change, so keep up to date with the latest information.


Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ Addthis

Free school meals

What are benefits-eligible free school meals?

  • Benefits-eligible free school meals are given to children in both primary and secondary schools across the country, including Tower Hamlets, whose household receives means tested benefits and/or other entitlements; read more on and
  • Benefits-eligible free school meals is NOT the same as Universal Infant Free School Meals, which provides a government funded meal for every student in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.
  • In Tower Hamlets too, this is complimented by local authority funded meals for those in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.
  • In secondary schools, only benefits-eligible free school meals are provided for free.

Individual schools are responsible for the provision of benefits-eligible free school meals (FSM).

The council are helping some schools with the provision of a food voucher. If you think you may be eligible for free school meals and are not receiving anything - contact your child's school directly.

Anyone who wishes to make a new application for benefits-eligible free school meals can find information here.

Arrangements will vary by school, and meal options will not necessarily be a cooked meal. In Contract Services schools (where a school pays the council to provide its catering) we are serving freshly cooked hot meals. 

Free school meals during COVID-19?

During 'normal times' benefits-eligible free school meals were provided at school and only during term time.

At present, benefits-eligible free school meals are being provided in different ways (typically a voucher) and during the school holidays too (Christmas 2020 and February 2021).

Vouchers are only available to benefits-eligible FSM children who are at home and learning remotely.

If you are receiving vouchers, the Department for Education has a step-by-step guide: How to use your free school meals vouchers. See also Free school meals Voucher scheme parent/carer FAQ.

Making meals on a budget

There are several online resources to support feeding your family on a budget, including some tailored specifically to free school meals vouchers. Here, we've collected a handful of healthy links for you:

What other support is available?

The council's resident support scheme is available to any person, or household, in urgent need of crisis support.

Take a look at what other help is available or visit the Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network for free information, advice and support