Free School Meal eligibility in Wales

Poverty A mother holding a child
ProjectsFebruary 24th, 2021

This project explores the feasibility and benefits of extending eligibility for Free School Meals.

Children who receive Free School Meals are guaranteed one healthy, nutritious meal a day during term time benefitting both their health and their education. Action taken by the Welsh Government in response to the Covid 19 pandemic has seen these benefits expanded into the holiday period, providing vital extra support to thousands of children and their families across Wales.


The aim of the project is to provide a sound evidence base on the cost of extending free school meals to:

  • all children whose family receives Universal Credit
  • all children at school

It also explores the impact on household finances of extending provision.

What we are doing

The Bevan Foundation is delivering the project by:

  • commissioning welfare benefit experts Policy in Practice to analyse the financial costs and benefits of extending eligibility
  • working with local authorities to explore the practicalities of extending eligibility
  • sharing the experiences from Scotland.

Key outputs

Report – Expanding the provision of Free School Meals in Wales

Report – Expanding the provision of Free School Meals in Wales: Practical considerations

Roundtable discussion (including learning from Scotland) – Meeting the challenge of Free School Meals for more children


On 1 December 2021 it was announced that Free School Meals will be provided to all primary school meal pupils in Wales on a universal basis over the next three years.


The project was funded by the Wales Anti-Poverty Alliance and has run from February 2021 to May 2021


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