also known as: School meals - free.
You can find information about school meals provided by Northumberland County Council Children can be entitled to free school meals if they or their parent receive a qualifying benefit.
We know how important good health is and school meals can help
children and young people fill up on nutritional food that will
keep them going for the rest of the day.
In some Northumberland schools meals are provided by the County
Council. Other schools choose to manage their own catering
All schools are expected to adhere to the
food and nutritional based standards provided by the
School meals provided by Northumberland County Council
- Spittal First School
- Tweedmouth West First School
- Tweedmouth Prior Park First School
- Lowick First School
- Norham First School
- Scremerston First School
- Berwick St Mary’s C of E First School
- St Cuthbert’s RC Aided First School
- The Grove School
- Seahouses First School
- Whittingham C of E First School
- Swarland First School
- Felton C of E First School
- Longhoughton C of E First School
- Alnwick St Paul’s RC First and Middle School
- Alnwick St Michael’s C of E First School
- Pegswood First School
- Ellington First School
- Linton First School
- Ashington Central First School
- St Aidan’s RC Aided First School
- St Benedict’s RC Aided Middle School
- Highfield Middle School
- Ovingham Middle School
- Acomb First School
- Corbridge First School
- Whalton C of E First School
- Belsay First School
- Stamfordham First School
- Richard Coates CE Middle School
- Eastlea Primary School
- Shanklea Primary School
- Hareside Primary School
- Cragside C of E Primary School
- Cramlington Hillcrest School
- West End First School
- Bedlington Station First School
- Cambois First School
- Bedlington Stead Lane First School
- Bedlington Whitley Memorial First School
- Rothbury First School
- Morpeth First School
- Longhorsley C of E Aided First School
- Morpeth All Saint’s C of E Aided First School
- Tritlington C of E First School
- James Calvert Spence College, South Avenue
- Amble First School
- Amble Links First School
- Grange View First School
- Acklington C of E First School
- Broomhill First School
- Red Row First School
- Hexham Middle School
- Hexham East First School
- The Sele First School
- St Mary’s RC Aided First School
- St Joseph’s RC Aided Middle School
- Hexham Priory School
- Allendale First School
- Haydon Bridge Shaftoe Trust First School
- Otterburn First School
- Wark C of E First School
- Slaley First School
- Whitley Chapel C of E First School
- The Blyth School Community College
- Newsham Primary School
- Blyth Horton Grange Primary School
- New Delaval Primary School
- The Dales School
- Seghill First School
- Atkinson House School
- Choppington First School
- Guide Post Middle School
- Cleaswell Hill School
- Guide Post Ringway First School
All of our menus are produced in line with the governments’ food and nutrient based standards. This
ensures that we are serving a healthy and nutritious menu that
keeps children and young people fuelled throughout the day.
To ensure that we meet these standards, we use a software system
to nutritionally analyse all ingredients we use to create our
recipes, which are then used to generate our menus.
Our current menus
School meal prices range from £1.95-£2.50 for a two course meal.
Individual items are also available in middle and secondary
Please check with your individual school for their prices.
Methods of Payment
Different methods of payment are available throughout the
County. These include;
- Parent Pay
- Cashless System
For more specific information about how you can pay, please
contact your individual school.
We cater for a variety of special diets.
- We will follow the Children’s School Food Trust - School Food
Standards to produce a compliant 3 week cycle menu
- We will provide every customer who wants one with a
nutritionally balanced 2 course meal.
- We will offer customers healthy choices in all that we
- We will explore ways of encouraging customers to choose a
healthy diet through on-going innovation.
- We will provide special diets where requested.
- We use only good quality food and ingredients and continue to
strive for the Food for Life catering Awards.
- We will strive to use local produce where possible.
- We will instruct our suppliers to only supply products that
comply with the nutritional standards and Food for Life
- We will carry out product testing on all new food items before
- We will continue to consult with our customers in menu
‘Your choice’ is an initiative which has been developed for
First and Primary Schools with the aim of being able to deliver a
more desirable and individual menu choice to our customers.
The concept of ‘Your Choice’ is that a school will have
ownership of their menu and be able to develop a menu that suits
them. This will hopefully encourage more children to stay for a
The ‘Your Choice’ menu has three main meal choices. Each
individual school chooses one of the 3 main courses on offer each
day for the 3 week cycle. In effect this is a standard menu. Those
children on special diets will be catered for in the usual way. The
choice is decided in partnership with The Unit Manager, Head
Teacher and ideally the School Council or SNAG group involving the
children in the decision making process.
Fuel to Go
Fuel to Go is a concept used in Middle Schools. It is a meal
deal style concept which has a variety of choices including;
freshly made sandwiches, jacket potatoes, pasta pots, salads,
drinks, crudities and desserts.
‘My 5’ is brand new concept introducing a guided healthy packed
lunch option. The packed lunch items are displayed into 5 food
groups and children are allowed to pick one option from each
- Pasta salad or sandwich
- Individual cheese portion/yoghurt,
- Orange or apple juice drink,
- Fresh fruit or vegetable stick pot,
- Mini muffin, jelly, pack of raisins or fruit pot
This concept is lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar compared
to some homemade packed lunches.
Northumberland County Council prides itself on the development
of our staff. We encourage and support our staff in
self-development with NVQ2 Professional Cookery and CIEH level 3
Award in Supervising Food Safety.
As part of our continual development of our service we hold
regular training sessions for all our unit managers three times a
year, and hold an annual catering conference in the summer. We
inform our staff of new initiatives within the school meal
When launching new initiatives we also hold road shows, where we
demonstrate the initiative, involve our unit managers and other
kitchen staff and also encourage the use of fresh local produce and
aim for ‘homemade’ by developing their kitchen skills whenever
As a catering provider, we realise the importance of working
closely with the schools and encourage and support linking the
curriculum and the kitchen. To this end, we provide our staff with
ideas for theme days with menu ideas and recipes and promotional
material. These theme days can be calendar events, such as St
George’s Day, a day celebrating and exploring the cuisine of
different countries or celebrating historical events such as VE day
that could link directly with the curriculum.
If you are interested in working for Northumberland County
Council’s catering team then please view our current vacancies by
We have been awarded the Fuel for Life Bronze Catering Award.
The award is a Soil Association accreditation scheme to help
caterers give their customers reassurance that we are working
towards greater use of fresh, seasonal, local, organic ingredients,
high welfare meat and sustainable fish.
There are three tiers to the award; bronze, silver and gold.
To achieve the award we have had to demonstrate and fulfil the
- No prohibited additives (from a prescribed list)
- No Hydrogenated Fats
- No Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- At least 75% of freshly prepared dishes on our menu
- Eggs from cage free hens
- The meat supplied to us is Farm Assured as a minimum.
- Our menus’ are seasonal
- Our menus’ caterer for all dietary needs.
- To provide encouragement for the catering staff to be involved
in Food Education activities.
- Provide continual development for the catering staff
School Meals Provided Directly by the School or another
Other schools in Northumberland choose to manage their own
catering service. For more details on menu’s and pricing, please
contact individual schools directly.
Packed lunches that are brought into school from home are often
high in fat, sugar and salt.
Individual schools can introduce a Packed Lunch Policy which
gives parents guidance on what to include when providing a packed
lunch. Every school is different so please contact your individual
school for more information.
More advice and guidance on healthy packed lunches is available
Information and advice
Below are some useful links to resources and information about
healthy eating and school meals.
Free school meals
Free School Meals (FSM) are available to people who are classed
as unemployed and receiving a qualifying benefit. However they are
not available automatically.
The parent, guardian or student needs to complete an application
and return it to the school or the FSM office at County Hall. An
application cannot be made retrospectively, the FSM process is a
set criteria and there is no appeals process.
Children who receive Income Support(IS) or Income Based
Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA) in their own right are also entitled
to claim free meals under the same application process.
If a child attends school or the parent/guardian resides in
Northumberland the applicant can apply to Northumberland Authority
for free school meals.
Refunds for free school meals are only made in exceptional
circumstances. These are handled on an individual basis by the
How do I apply for free school meals?
You can apply either by:
- over the telephone on FSM 01670 623592
- completing a paper application form which is available from any
school or FSM Office Northumberland County Council County Hall
Morpeth NE61 2EF
Paper forms can be returned to the school or The FSM office.
Benefit details for applications can be checked by us on receipt of
the information although on some occasions the confirmation may not
be found and you will be contacted with a request to provide your
proof of benefit.
To be eligible for help you need to be in one of the following
- Receive Income Support(IS) or Income-based Job Seekers
- Receive Income Related Employment Allowance (IREA).
- Have an entitlement to Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working
Tax Credit (WTC) and the family's annual income (as assessed by the
Inland Revenue) is not more than £16,190 for tax year
2012/2013(this figure changes on an annual basis).
- Receive support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act
- Receive the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit.
You will not be entitled to Free School Meals if you, or your
partner, receive any Working Tax Credit on a regular basis.
However,where a parent is entitled to 'Working Tax Credit Run
On' during the four week period immediately after their employment
ceases, or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week,
their children are entitled to Free School Meals.
We are unable to directly confirm this 4 week period of
eligibility via our electronic system, so we must ask parents to
provide a copy of their Tax Credit decision notice.
Applications are processed as quickly as possible however, at
peak times forms are dealt with in order of date received,
therefore the timing for a response to an application depends on
the volume of forms waiting to be processing.
If the application is received before lunch the meals will be
started from that day. If the application received after lunch, the
meals will be started the following day. The school will be
notified of your entitlement immediately by telephone or email. If
applications are handed in to the school, and confirmation of
benefit has been received the school can start the meals
Approved meals will run the whole of a child’s school life
unless there is a change in circumstances. However all current
claims for free school meals are reviewed monthly and applications
will be automatically extended if we receive confirmation of
benefit using our electronic system.
If your benefit results come back as ‘not found’, a letter will
be sent out to you giving you two weeks to contact us or your
entitlement will be cancelled.
Further proof of benefit would be required in order for the
school meals to continue.
You are not eligible if you are in one or more of the following
- Part time pupils (children at nursery) are not entitled to free
school meals. To qualify children must be receiving education
before and after the lunch period.
- Pupils whose parents receive other state benefits but not those
- Pupils whose parents receive Working Tax Credit on a regular
- Pupils who are in foster care, if a child is fostered the Carer
will be receiving an allowance which covers all costs for the
child, including meals at home and school.
Schools and the FSM office should be notified immediately of
If you start work and your benefit
- If you change address
- If your child changes school
- If you change your name
Failure to notify us of a change of circumstance may affect your
child's entitlement to free school meals. If your child receives
free meals when they are no longer eligible, you will be required
to reimburse the school any monies owed.
If you have not informed us of a change of address or you do not
renew your award, your entitlement will be cancelled. You will be
responsible for the payment of any meals taken and meals will not
be backdated. It is your responsibility to keep us informed.
To add a new child to an existing claim, contact the FSM office
- the child's name
- Date of Birth
- school they will be attending
- older siblings details
If your child has been excluded from school and is placed in an
Alternative Provision, the entitlement to free school meals may be
cancelled. This would be because the establishment may not have the
provision to provide school meals and you may have to supply your
child with a packed lunch. Please check with your child's
Alternative Provision provider.
The approval of a FSM application would entitle a child
- Free milk - in First or Special school milk at break-time will
be free for the time the child is entitled to free school meals.
The child's school will make the appropriate arrangements for the
- Help with music tuition and instruments - Parents can claim a
refund of £3.00 per session from the costs when 7 of the 10 classes
have be attended by the student. The child's school will make the
appropriate arrangements for this service.
- Help with curriculum related residential trips or school visits
- The child's school will make the appropriate arrangements for