Schools pay for benefits-related free school meals from their core funding. The department includes a factor value in the national funding formula (£440 per pupil), but both local authorities and schools have the freedom and flexibility to apply their own local formulae. Last year, around 1.3 million children benefitted from this important provision.
For universal infant free school meals (UIFSM), schools receive funding through a separate grant. The department spends around £600 million each year ensuring 1.4 million infants receive a free meal through this programme.
UIFSM allocations since 2015, can be found at the following links: