Ordering School Dinners

Ordering and Paying for School Meals

Parents need to order school dinners on Parent Pay in advance. Meals—hot dinners and school packed lunches—need to be ordered by 23:59 on the Thursday for the following week. You can order for a selection of days or for the whole week. Meals can also be ordered more than a week in advance if you wish.

Currently, all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled for free school meals. Children in Years 3 to 6 whose parents are in receipt of certain benefits (see box on the back page) can apply for free school meals.

For those not in receipt of free school meals, Parent Pay has the facility for parents to pay up to two hours after the order has been placed. If the order is not paid for within this time frame, the system will automatically cancel any orders and you will receive an email notifying you that this has been cancelled.

We understand that families from time to time can face unexpected financial difficulties. If you are unable to pay for a school meal at any time, please contact the School Office (01268 555333) for help and advice.

Any questions?

Please contact the School Office (01268 555333) if you have any questions or queries about your child’s school meals.

Troubleshooting tips for ordering dinners

  • Set yourself a reminder on your phone calendar to order dinners
  • Remember to order a main meal and a dessert for each day
  • If your child is absent from school, you can cancel the school dinner you have booked and your account will be credited
  • Order the dinners with your child, so on the day they know what dinner to expect
  • You can order more than one week in advance if you wish

To make and view orders on Parent Pay

Click on Make or view nookings; Click on View menus and choices

Free school meals

It is important for children to have a good nutritious meal at lunch time. If you can’t afford school dinners, you may be eligible for free school meals.

To be eligible you must be receiving one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit (not Working Tax Credit), with an annual income of below £16,190
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance, income related
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999
  • Working Tax Credit run-on—paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit, with an income of £7,400 or less

To apply for free schools meals please complete the online application form available at www.essex.gov.uk.

If you are eligible for free school meals, and your circumstances change in any way (such as changing address or school, and registering another child) you will need to contact the Team via educationawards@essex.gov.uk to advise the team of these changes.

Please note that all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to receive a free school meal, regardless of income, in line with the Government’s Universal Infant Free School Meals initiative. There is no need to make an application to the Local Authority for parents of these children.

Therefore, you should only apply for free school meals in the July of the year that your child is entering Year 3, or if your child is Year 4 or older if you believe you meet the low income eligibility criteria.

Please contact the School Office for more information on 01268 555333.