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Free College Meals

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A member of catering staff serving students in the canteen

A free school meal is available to all eligible students each day the student attends their study programme, where this is appropriate.

Free school meals are available to students who are enrolled at Aquinas College and are aged between 16 or over but under 19 on 31st August 2023.

Students aged 19 or over are only eligible to receive a free meal if they are continuing on a study programme they began aged 16-18 or have an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Transitional protection

During the transition to Universal Credit a student who has been in receipt of free school meals at or after 1st April 2018 will continue to receive free meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. A copy of your letter showing the students entitlement to free school meals must be uploaded with your bursary application form. Transitional protection is on an individual child basis.

To be eligible for free school meals in further education, the student must be in receipt of, or living with parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:

Qualifying Benefits

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of the State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after someone stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit with net earnings not exceeding the equivalent of £7,400 pa after tax and not including benefits.

To apply for free school meals whilst at college the bursary application form for 2023-24 must be submitted with the required documents showing receipt of the qualifying benefits. A household may qualify for free school meals but not be eligible for the bursary award.

Free School Meal Allowance

The allowance gives the student £4:00 towards a meal each day they are in college for lessons. Once eligibility has been established the allowance is accessible on the student’s mobile phone, it is not available as a cash payment. The allowance can be spent in the canteen at the main counter or the deli bar for breakfast or lunch, it is not available to spend at the coffee shop. The allowance must be used in one transaction. Any spend over £4:00 must be met by the student.

How to access your free school meal in the college canteen

Proof of eligibility for free school meals is made by the student logging in to myaquinas/my details/free meals, this will take the student to a screen which shows their eligibility. The canteen staff will ask to see this screen to authorise payment for the school meal.

The student will receive a text and/or email informing them of their eligibility to free meals at college.
We encourage students to choose a healthy option for their meal.