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  • You may qualify for financial aid
    Financial support is available

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.

Free school meals Primary, Secondary and Further Education

​Paying for school 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 Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI 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 Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary 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 ESFA.

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 to their institution.

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


School travel allowance

​Transport for London (TFL) provides free travel on buses, tubes, trams, DLR and London Overground for children aged five to ten and free bus and tram young people aged 11 to 18 in full time education.

To find out more go to the TFL webpages for under 18s. You may be entitled to get additional help from the City with your child’s school train journey costs. If your child is aged between 11 and 18, living within the City and attending full time education at:

  • a maintained school
  • any public sector sixth form school or college
  • any other school or college that receives funding from the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA)

The City of London may fund free train travel if you or your child is:

  • living in the City of London
  • is aged 11 to 18
  • is in full time education (minimum 12 guided learning hours per week)
  • their bus ride to school or college is longer than an hour
  • it was not possible to find suitable education/course closer to your home

Download: Home to School Transport Policy 2019-20 (404KB)

Download: Post 16 Transport Policy 2019-20 (166KB)

School clothing grant

The City of London Corporation'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.

Who is eligible for a clothing grant?

The grant is a one-off payment which is available to parents whose children qualify for free school meals and:

  • have a child transferring from a primary to a publicly funded secondary school where there is an agreed school uniform, and or;
  • have a child due to start reception class from September in a publicly funded primary school where there is an agreed school uniform;
  • the applicant for the clothing grant must be resident in the City of London at the time of application to be eligible.

How much is the grant?

A maximum grant of £135 for families whose children are transferring to secondary school.

A maximum grant of £30 for families whose children will be starting reception class in September.

Do I need to provide proof of eligibility?

After you have completed the application form, your details will be checked against the Department for Education's Free School Meals Eligibility checking website. If you are receiving one of the qualifying benefits, your details will be matched on the database. If your details do not match the database, this means that you may not be entitled to free school meals, therefore not entitled to clothing grants.

If your details cannot be matched on the website but you think you are eligible, you will need to send a copy of an official letter or award notification confirming the qualifying criteria that applies to you.

Is there a deadline for the application?

Yes, applications must be made by the end of the July before the September in which your child will be transferring from primary to secondary school or will be attending primary reception class.

Who do I contact for an application form?

The City of London will automatically send application forms to families who have gone through the primary and secondary admissions process. If you do not receive a form by June, please contact the Education and Early Years Service.

If you do not live in the City of London area, you must contact your home local authority to find out about their school clothing grant policy.


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

16 - 19 Bursary Fund

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 Guidancecontains 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 of 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 behaviour or attendance.

How to apply for a bursary

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

Student Finance

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

City Educational Trust Fund

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

Dance and Drama Awards

  • ​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.

Care to Learn

  • ​provides support with the costs of childcare for young parents in education.
  • 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.

Residential Bursary Fund

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

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

Residential Support Scheme

  • ​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.