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Grants and financial support

Date updated: 8/13/2021

To ensure that all children resident in the City of London get the best possible start in life, there are various grants and other forms of financial support available to parents.

Paying for schools meals can be very expensive for some families; however parents who get certain government benefits and/or Tax Credits can get help by applying for free school meals. 

Parents do not have to pay for school lunches if they receive any of the following: 

  • Income support
  • Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part IV 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 - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
  • Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to free school meals. You still need to complete an application form as this ensures the school receives the funding to pay for your child's meals.

How do I apply?

An application should be made direct to the local authority where the school your child attends is located. For children that attend The Aldgate School should apply directly to the school.


For further information call 020 7332 1002, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm or email the team. 

Further Education

To be eligible for a free meal, students must have enrolled in further education provision funded via EFSA.

Free meals are targeted at disadvantaged students. For the purposes of free meals eligibility, the definition of disadvantage is students being in receipt of, or having parents who are in receipt of, one or more of the qualifying benefits.

A student is only eligible to receive a free meal when they, or a parent/guardian on their behalf, have made a successful application on their institution. 

The Funding Free Meals in Further Education guidance contains more information.  

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund provides financial support to help students overcome specific barriers to participation so they can remain in education.

There are two types of 16 to 19 bursaries:

  • bursaries for defined vulnerable groups of up to £1,200 a year
  • discretionary bursaries which institutions award to meet individual needs, for example, help with the cost of transport, meals, books and equipment. 

The 16 - 19 Bursary Fund Guidance contains more information. 

Students in the following groups may receive the maximum bursary of £1,200 a year:

  • young people in care
  • care leavers
  • young people claiming income support in their own name
  • disabled young people who receive both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance in their own name

To receive the maximum bursary your course must last for 30 weeks or more. If your course is shorter than 30 weeks, you may receive less. 

Other students facing genuine financial difficulties may be awarded a bursary at the discretion of their school, college or training provider. 

Unlike the EMA, schools, colleges and training providers will be responsible for awarding bursaries to students. With the exception for the £1,200 bursaries for students most in need, they decide on the amount. They will also decide when bursaries are paid, and will set conditions that students should meet to receive a bursary, for example, linked to behavior or attendance.  

How to apply for a bursary 

Speak to your school, college, Academy or training provider about how to apply for bursary. 

They each have their own applications process. If you're in one of the groups above, they may ask you to provide evidence of your status. If you're not in one of the groups above and are applying for a discretionary bursary, they may ask you to provide evidence of household income.

Useful websites 

Student finance website

16 - 19 Bursary Fund 

Students on higher education courses may be able to get loans to help with both tuition fees and living costs.

Full time student loans

Students doing a full-time higher education course may be able to take out:

  • a Tuition Fee Loan to cover tuition fees
  • a Maintenance Loan to help with accommodation and other living costs

Part time student loans

Students may be able to get a loan if the part-time course has a ‘course intensity’ of 25% or more.

Course intensity measures how much of the course is completed each year compared to an equivalent full-time course.

This can be worked out by comparing the course's module credits with the number of module credits a full-time student will study. Students will be asked how many credits they are studying during the application process. Contact the university or college for information about module credits.

Who is eligible for student loans and finance?

Student finance isn't available to everyone, there are certain criteria you need to meet to be eligible. Some of these conditions are personal, such as your age and where you live, while others are to do with your course and place of study.

To find out if you qualify go to the Student finance page on the GOV.UK website.

Other Grants and Bursaries

You may be entitled to claim other financial support by checking the Student finance calculator.

How to apply?

Full time students can apply for loans by going online at Student finance on GOV.UK.


Student Finance England
0300 100 0607
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 4pm

To find out more about the City Educational Trust Fund and the Combined Education Charity, visit the Central Grants Programme webpage.

This is ​income-assessed help with tuition fees and living costs at a small number of private dance and drama institutions in England. This funding ensures that income is not a barrier to the most talented young people accessing this specialist provision.

The Dance and Drama Awards Guide contains more information.

This ​provides support with the costs of childcare for young parents in education. It helps ensure young people who are parents are not prevented from taking part in education because of childcare costs. 

The 16-19 Bursary Fund Guidance contains more information.

​This is funding given to institutions delivering specialist provision. It helps institutions contribute to the costs of accommodation for students they assess as facing financial barriers to accessing their specialist provision. 

The 16-18 Residential Bursary Fund Guidance contains more information.

Income-assessed support to help with the costs of accommodation for students who need to move away from home to study because the same or similar substantial Level 2 or Level 3 qualification within their study programme is not available locally to their home address. 

The 16-18 Residential Support Scheme contains more information.

School Clothing Grant Policy PDF (600KB)
Date submitted: 2/24/21

The City of London's School Clothing Grant Policy provides financial assistance with the cost of school clothing and footwear for families on low incomes living in the City.