Free School Meals – eligibility checker

The Free School Meal Checking Service is an online process where parents can check eligibility for free school meals. Parents can conduct a simple online check to determine eligibility for free school meals which in turn may attract the extra funding for each of their children’s schools. Parents are not required to accept free meals but schools appreciate the help with conducting an online check.

What the service does for parents:

After entering a few details into the website, the online application process links to the Department for Education database and gives an immediate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

This system is designed to eliminate the need to apply in person for free school meals and improve the claims process for schools. It also means that if you are eligible for free meals, the school is able to process your application using the information you submit.

There is no need to re-apply each year, as schools can recheck eligibility as required using the data already provided – although if your child moves to a different school then you will need to update your account.

We have made a couple of enhancements to the website, for further information please see the FAQ ‘s, the enhancements are:

  •  A school can check eligibility on behalf of a parent, the parent will need to contact your child’s school, as they can run a check on your behalf.
  •  A parent of a child attending any LGfL or TRUSTnet school can now use this website to check their eligibility.

By way of thanks for your application and support, and regardless of whether the answer returned is a yes or a no, The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and its connected schools would like to provide parents of children attending LGfL-connected schools with Sophos AntiVirus software, free of charge, to protect the computers used by pupils at home. To gain access to this software, a short registration process is required, at which point other services related to your children’s school will be explained. Don’t worry, its straightforward, there is absolutely no advertising, and you won’t be asked to buy anything! There is no catch, LGfL (a UK education charity) is providing this service to support schools.

What the service does for schools:

As the government has now introduced free school meals for all children in Key Stage 1, it is more important than ever for schools to know how many pupils would otherwise be eligible for free meals as this may allow schools to apply for extra funding. These funds enable schools to take on more staff, invest in additional equipment, resources and activities to benefit all their children.

Schools wishing to encourage applications can promote the online eligibility checker to parents by publicising the following web address:

After parents have submitted their details online, a suitably authorised school administrator will be able to facilitate the submission of claims by clicking on the ‘Administrators’ button and visiting the school administration section. The head teacher is an authorised school administrator by default but would normally nominate one or more staff members as additional administrators via this section of the site. Data will only be made available securely via this site. In order to use this FREE service, schools already subscribing to LGfL 2.0 or TRUSTnet services by ensuring that MIS data is exported regularly and the school has configured an information status in the free OpenCheck service found at

This service is provided by the London Grid for Learning and is available to parents of children attending schools which are part of the LGfL or TRUSTnet service network.

All submitted data is stored securely in compliance with the Data Protection Act. For additional information regarding data please see our privacy statement.


Open check for schools

With the recent bad weather that we have experienced over the last few days, we thought it was a good time to remind you of OpenCheck. This free information service was developed by LGfL and Atomwide.

OpenCheck provides parents and pupils with convenient methods for checking whether a school is open, re-opening or closed on a given date.  The status information can be updated by appropriate school or LA staff at any time, thereby ensuring that an up-to the minute report is always available.

The primary mechanism for checking a school’s status is the OpenCheck web site at which allows the selection of a school by picking options from drop-down lists of LAs and establishments, or by using a map.  Colour-coded icons provide at-a-glance indication of the status of schools with further details appearing below the drop-down lists and also next to the user’s mouse pointer as it moves over each symbol.

As an alternative, the status of a school can be checked by calling the OpenCheck phone line.  An automated system prompts for the schools seven-digit DfE code, then responds by reading out the appropriate status message and last update time.

For each school, keeping status information up-to-date is easily achieved through the LGfL support site. Suitably privileged staff users, including the Head Teacher and USO Nominated Contacts, can access a page within the secure area of the site that allows the current message to be changed – either to one of a range of standard options, or alternatively to a completely custom sentence. The date and time of the last update, along with the name of the person making that change, is automatically recorded. The revised status is made available to end users almost instantly.

For more information: OpenCheck

You can download a PDF with key information here: SF_USO-OpenCheck