Universal Primary Free School Meals

To help with the rising costs-of-living, we are working with Welsh Government so that every primary school pupil will be offered free school meals by 2024 through the Universal Primary Free School Meals scheme.

In Denbighshire schools, Universal Primary Free School Meals are currently available for every child in:

  • reception class
  • year 1
  • year 2
  • year 3
  • year 4
  • year 5
  • year 6

This is different to the Free School Meals scheme which is available for people who receive certain benefits.

Primary school dinner menus

View the primary school dinner menus (external website)

Who is covering the cost of providing these free meals?

In 2022 Welsh Government committed to roll out free school meals to all primary pupils by September 2024 as part of the Programme for Government and Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.

This commitment was made in response to the rising cost-of-living pressures on families and their shared ambitions of tackling child poverty and ensuring no child goes hungry in school.

In order to deliver this ambition WG have provided both Capital and Revenue funding for all Welsh local authorities.

In Denbighshire the capital funding is being used to cover the cost of improving the kitchen and dining facilities across the authority to ensure we have sufficient capacity to deliver meals for all primary pupils.

The revenue funding is being used to cover the cost of the additional food that is required and to increase staffing levels to be able to cook and supervise the increasing number of pupils having school meals.

When will Universal Free School Meals be available? 

Universal Primary Free School Meals (UPFSM) will be available to children in:

  • reception classes from September 2022 
  • year 1 from January 2023
  • year 2 from April 2023
  • year 3 and 4 from September 2023
  • year 5 and 6 from January 2024

Why is the UPFSM scheme being rolled out in phases?

All school catering facilities are different. In Denbighshire, some primary schools require significant works to increase catering capacity sufficiently, and time is required to make these improvements before we can roll out to all year groups.

Along with needing time to improve Denbighshire’s kitchen infrastructure, time is required to gradually increase staffing levels in our school kitchen and dining rooms and in some cases to make changes to school lunch hours to accommodate a greater number of pupils accessing school meals.

What refurbishment works have been completed so far?

As part of phase 1 of the project, we have successfully refurbished 13 kitchen/dining rooms. Phase 2 is looking at improving a further 16 kitchen/dining spaces.

How to get Universal Primary Free School Meals for your child

All children (in a year group where Universal Primary Free School Meals are available) will be asked daily by their school if they would like to have school meals.

The is no application process to check if a pupil is eligible for Universal Primary Free School Meals.

You can contact your child's school to find out more about how to get Universal Primary Free School Meals.

Free School Meals

If you are eligible to receive Free School Meals because you receive a qualifying benefit, we recommend that you apply for Free School Meals as you will also be eligible for the school uniform and equipment grant. 

To find out more, including what the qualifying benefits are and how to apply, visit our free school meals page.

Specific/dietary requirements

Special diets and identified allergies are currently catered for across all schools and this will continue. Please discuss the specific requirements of your child directly with the school.

Packed lunches from home

If you'd prefer, your child can take a packed lunch from home instead of having a Universal Primary Free School Meal. You can also take up the offer of Universal Primary Free School Meals on some days and a packed lunch on others.