School Meals and Free School Meals

Our in-house catering team have created menus to meet legislation for school food standards. A great emphasis is put on sourcing environmentally sustainable and ethically sourced foods. Meat is farm assured, eggs are free range and fish are sourced from sustainable stock. All food procured is as locally produced as possible therefore supporting the local economy.

Our culinary experts produce a tasty and healthy menu for us; each week giving us great tastes from around the world along with traditional English meals.

There are 3 menu patterns which change on a rolling programme indicated by the date of the week.  Menus are designed to give a variety of flavour, colour, texture and appearance to support good nutrition. Below are an example of our menus.

Meals are prepared and served on the premises by our highly skilled and passionate catering team and lunchtime supervisory staff who make dinnertime at Hillside a fun and enjoyable time in a safe and hygienic environment.  Children with special dietary needs are noted and catered for.

Children in our Nursery and Reception classes are provided with family service for their school lunch.  Key Stages 1 and 2 use self service for their lunch.  The children get a choice of main course, side, dessert and drink.  A salad bar is available as an alternative to the vegetables on offer.

Children may have a school meal or bring a packed lunch (excluding Nursery).  School meals are provided at a reasonable price, £15.00 per week (£3.00 per day) with payment on a weekly basis, paid in advance on the first morning of each week.  At Hillside we operate a cashless environment and all payments are made through an online payment system called ParentPay. Details will be provided as part of your child’s induction pack. We require a notice period of one week for any changes to school meal arrangements.

A government initiative Universal Infant Free School Meals provides all children in classes Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 with a free school meal – a free school meal application form will need to be completed upon induction.  All other classes will pay the current rate charged for school meals unless they qualify for means tested free school meals. Parents who think their children qualify for free meals should contact the school office who will make appropriate enquiries and treated in the strictest confidence – further information below.

Children not opting for school meals will need to bring a packed lunch to school.  As a health promoting school, we ask that children should bring only healthy food for lunch and break time snacks.  Lunches should be packed in a secure container, clearly named and drinks should be in an unbreakable container.  Hot or fizzy drinks are not allowed. Please encourage your child to drink fresh water daily.  Water coolers are situated throughout the school.

Health & Hygiene

Our catering team provide interesting and healthy meals in a clean and safe environment.  Don’t take our word for it as they have been awarded 5 stars in food hygiene by the Food Standards Agency.

Important:  Peanut/Nut Allergies

There are children and staff in school who have a severe food allergy to peanuts/nuts.  It is important to avoid this food as best we can to prevent serious allergic reactions.  Please do not send any peanut or nut containing products to school with your child in their lunchboxes or at any other times.

It is essential that the school are notified of any allergy which your child may have or develop during their time at Hillside.

Free School Meals

Your child might be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – provided you have an annual net income of no more that £7,400 as assessed by earnings from up to 3 of the most recent assessment periods (not including any benefits you get)

If your child is eligible for free school meals, they will also qualify for the Holiday Activity and Food Programme. Food vouchers may also be available through the Household Support Fund.

If you do not qualify for most benefits (also known as having ‘no recourse to public funds’), your child may still be eligible for free school meals.

You can check your eligibility online here from 6 November 2023 via the following link:

The system should give applicants an outcome of their application within a few minutes

Even if you have a previously unsuccessful claim, you can still reapply.

How does it work?

1. First, check if you qualify—it is not just if you are unemployed, so please check the free school meal application via the following link:

2. Registering is really quick and easy—if you think you qualify you just need to complete the online enquiry via the above link. If you have difficulties completing the form online, please e-mail the Free School Meals Team at with your contact details and details of any issues.

3. If you want your child to have a free, healthy meal at lunchtime that’s great—they will get the free meal (saving you over £500 a year for each eligible child) and the school gets additional funding too.

4. Did you know …… just registering your child for Free School Meals means that the school gets extra money? If you don’t want your child to have the school meals they can continue as normal—as long as you qualify and are registered for free school meals the school still gets the additional funding.

No-one will know you have registered and it will not affect any other benefits you are claiming.

Please register immediately to make sure your child and others don’t miss out.