Free School Meals and Clothing Allowances

Orkney Islands Council provides assistance with free school meals and clothing allowances to families on a low income who meet the eligibility criteria. To be awarded this assistance, proof must be provided that you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

The current clothing allowance is £100.00 per eligible child.


You can apply for free school meals and clothing allowances if you are receiving:

If you are aged between 16 and 18 years old and receive any of these benefits in your own right, you can claim free school meals and a clothing allowance for yourself.

You may also be eligible for assistance if you are receiving support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.


Children who are attending nursery will receive a free school meal only if they are attending for a full day but will not be entitled to a clothing allowance. There is no need to complete an application form for them.

Primary 1-3

All children in Primary 1-3 are automatically entitled to a free school meal without the need to complete an application form. However, you should still complete an application form if you are eligible for a clothing allowance.

Primary 4 and Up

If you are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits listed above, you should complete an application form to apply for free school meals and clothing allowances.

16 – 18 Year Olds

Pupils aged 16-18 and still at school may apply for assistance in their own right if they are in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits listed above.

Please note: young people who are beyond statutory school leaving age will not be awarded a clothing allowance until after the summer break, once we have received confirmation from the school that they have returned for further study.

Application Forms

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you should complete an application form, which can be downloaded in PDF format from the ‘Related Downloads’ section of this page.

One application is suitable for all the children in your family, even if they are attending different schools within Orkney.

A fresh application must be submitted each academic year.

Application Deadlines

Applications for free school meals can be submitted at any point throughout the school year. However, these will not be backdated and will only be paid from the date that your application is received by Education, Leisure and Housing.

Please bear in mind that during June-September we receive a large number of applications and it may take up to 4 weeks to process your application. You should contact us if you have not received your notification letter after this time.

Start Dates

Once we have processed your complete application form (including all relevant evidence) we will notify the school of your child’s entitlement to free school meals.

Ideally, you should submit your application before 2 August 2019 to receive free school meals from the start of term, otherwise they will be provided from the date we approve the application.

Payment Methods

Clothing allowances can either be paid directly in a bank account or we can issue a cheque. If you would prefer for the allowance to be paid into your bank account then we require you to complete a bank mandate. This can be found at the end of the application form.

Contact Us

If you have any queries, or would like assistance completing your application form, please contact the team at:

Free School Meals and Clothing Allowances, Education, Leisure and Housing, Orkney Islands Council, School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY.

Telephone: 01856873535 extensions 2416 or 2450.

Email: Education Grants.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535


Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS