All of our meals are freshly prepared on a daily basis. It is our aim to ensure that all students can choose from a wide range of healthy, tasty and nutritious meals and products.

If a student has a special diet or any food allergies we would appreciate if you could inform the school.

Note: Our school endeavours as far as possible to be a nut-free school. This includes sesame seeds.  We have quite a number of students in school who have severe nut allergies and can be seriously affected by someone else who is eating or may have recently eaten nuts.  

Please encourage your child to understand that eating a nut product (including items such as peanut butter sandwiches and Nutella bars) can have a serious effect on a student later on in the classroom.

At QEHS we like to offer students a more flexible and informal service, including:

  • A ‘grab and go’ provision for students who do sports and other activities on a lunchtime.
  • A pre-order system which means less queuing at lunchtime. Students can pre-order their lunch at breakfast or morning break and it will be ready for collection at lunchtime.
  • Vending machines located in the main school to purchase a variety of food and drinks throughout the day and for after-school activities.

Mid-morning Break: 11.15am to 11.30am

During break time a wide range of food and drink is available including the breakfast items mentioned above, sandwiches and wraps, fresh fruit and yoghurt, and a selection of juices and flavoured water. Hot drinks are available from the vending machines.

Lunchtime Service 12.30pm to 1.20pm

We offer a varied healthy menu including a two-course set meal of the day for £2.65, a meal deal offer, and individually priced menu items including:

  • Daily specials
  • Filled jacket potatoes
  • Paninis and pizza
  • Hot wraps
  • Pasta pots with a selection of sauces
  • Curry pots with a selection of sauces and mini naan bread
  • Fresh soups
  • Selection of sandwiches with a variety of fillings
  • Salad bowls
  • Hot and cold desserts plus fruit pots, yoghurts, fresh fruit
  • Home baked items, i.e., scones, flapjack
  • Selection of fruit juices, milk, milkshakes, smoothies, water and flavoured water

Our menu is produced in line with the Government’s new food standards. For those students who bring a packed lunch to school we ask parents to refrain from including confectionery, crisps or fizzy drinks.

Our three-week menu is available to view: QEHS Menu (PDF)

Please note: Our school endeavours as far as possible to be a nut-free school. This includes sesame seeds.  We have quite a number of students in school who have severe nut allergies and can be seriously affected by someone else who is eating or may have recently eaten nuts.  Please encourage your child to understand that eating a nut product (including items such as peanut butter sandwiches and Nutella bars) can have a serious effect on a student later on in the classroom.

Parents/carers are expected to inform the school about any food allergies or special dietary requirements that their child may have.

Information relating to individual needs should be discussed with the school and the catering manager prior to their child starting school. 

Please note: it is recommended that parents/carers supply a medical/dietitian letter to support the special diet requirements as self-diagnosed or personal food preferences are not able to be accommodated.

The school operates a biometric cashless school meals system. The biometric system is based on fingertip recognition technology. Every student is issued with an account which allows them to buy food and drink at morning break and lunchtime using their fingertip or pin number.

All payments should be made online via the School Gateway app/website, which also provides information on school meal balances and purchases. School Gateway also enables you to view school meal balances and purchases and top up school meals money at any time.

A daily spend limit can be applied to a student’s account; if you would like further information on this please contact our Catering Manager via Reception.

Online Payments

To set up online payments, you will need to visit the School Gateway website and click on ‘New User’, entering the email address and mobile number that the school holds on record for you.

If you have changed your email or mobile phone number please contact the Pastoral Office and they will update your records to enable you to log in to School Gateway.

You’ll receive a text message with a PIN number. Use the PIN to log into School Gateway and complete the initial setup for payments using your bank account number and sort code. After this is set up, payments can be made on either the website or the app (see below).

The payment can be set up as either a card payment, which requires you to enter your card details each time you use School Gateway, or a direct debit. Unlike other direct debits, this is not a regular monthly payment; you are in control of how much is taken and when it is taken from your account. Direct debits are used so that School Gateway can instruct your bank to make payments. You are able to cancel the arrangement at any time.

To make a payment click on the Payment Box, and click ‘Add School Meals’.

Once you have paid online and the payment has been processed, you will receive a confirmation email. Payment will be received through School Gateway to your child’s school meals account the day you make the payment, however, your bank account may not have the money taken out of it for a few days.

Download the app: If you have a smartphone, please download School Gateway from your app store (Android and iPhone). You will be able to check the balance, top up the account and see that the money has been added to your child’s school meals account under ‘My Lunch Money’.

If it is not possible for you to use the School Gateway website or app, please contact the Finance Office on and we will arrange for you to be sent a PayPoint barcode voucher to enable you to make payment at one of the many PayPoint terminals sited in shops in the local area.

Account Balance

Students’ accounts should maintain a credit balance at all times. We will endeavour to notify students if their balance is low or the account has insufficient funds. Contact will be made with parents/carers via school gateway where insufficient funds are available or there is money owing on the students’ account. You can also check the balance on the school gateway app.

If a student’s account is more than -£3.00a catering member of staff will ask the student to obtain a lunch slip from a member of the Pastoral team to authorise the increase in debt. The student will be informed by the kitchen that the food will be kept until they return, and they are to come to the front of the queue so as not to lose any further time. Please be reassured that a student is never refused lunch. 

Crediting an account and account balance

We kindly ask that you keep your child’s account in credit. The balance can be accessed through the school gateway app. You will be able to check the balance, top up the account and see that any payments made have been credited to your child’s school meals account under ‘My Lunch Money’.

Daily spend limit 

If you wish to have a daily spend limit applied or change a daily spend limit on your child’s account, please contact our Catering Manager Unfortunately, the School Gateway app does not allow you to change the daily spend limit. This facility is accessed through the school cashless system by the Catering Manager.  

Refunds and transferring balance

Where possible, parents/carers are expected to wind down meals account balances where their child is leaving school.  Account balances can be viewed at any time on the School Gateway app or website.

Balances can either be transferred to another child’s account or refunded.  Where the school meals account has been credited in the last four months, refunds will be made through School Gateway using the payment method originally used.  If there have been no such credits, refunds will be processed via BACS payment to a nominated bank account. 

If you require a refund, please fill in the form in the link below:

The refund process usually takes between 10-14 days (term time).  Please note, if you require refunds for more than one child, you will need to fill in a form for each individual. 

If you have any queries, please email or telephone 01434 610330.

If your child qualifies for Free School Meals (FSM), please be assured that there is total anonymity with the lunch system so others don’t know who is receiving a free school meal.  The monetary value of £2.65 is added to the student’s meal account daily which enables them to buy a lunch meal deal. A meal deal consists of either a daily main course special, vegetarian special or jacket potato with filling, plus a home bake or piece fruit or yoghurt. Alternatively, they can buy individual items which are individually priced up to the £2.65 value.

The £2.65 allowance is applied across the day, so students may instead choose to use it to buy food at morning break.  However, please note that if students buy a snack at breaktime, this can leave them with very little to spend at lunchtime and therefore a very limited choice. Our recommendation would be to either:

  • limit the allowance so that it can only be used at lunchtime to ensure your child gets a meal every day – you may wish to send your child into school with a snack for morning break to keep them going until lunchtime, or
  • add additional money to their account using the School Gateway app/website to enable them to purchase additional items above the free school meal allowance.

Please note that the School Gateway app does not show the daily FSM entitlement of £2.65.  Any items purchased on the account are taken initially from the FSM allowance up to the value of £2.65 per day.  Anything above the £2.65 is then charged to the account.  For example, if a student buys a £2.65 meal deal and an additional snack for 65p, the £2.65 free meal allowance would be used and the 65p would be charged to the account using additional money that has been added. Please note that additional items above the £2.65 can only be purchased if students have additional money on their account. Unspent free school meal money cannot be carried forward to the next day, but additional money that has been added is always carried forward.

If you do not want your child to spend above the free school meal allowance, it would be advisable for you to let your child know that they have a daily spend limit of £2.65 to avoid confusion at the till. 

If you wish to have the FSM allowance spent at lunchtime only so that your child always has enough for a meal, or you wish to have a spend limit of £2.65 please contact the catering manager either by email or telephone 01434 610330.

If you do not wish your child to spend above the free school meal allowance of £2.65, but have not limited the allowance to ‘lunchtime only’ then, if they buy food at morning break this will mean they will only have enough money on their account to buy a snack at lunchtime and not a full meal.

We know from our records that a number of parents do not claim for their entitlement of a Free School Meal for their son/daughter. Free school meals entitlement enables your child to have a free hot or cold lunch every day and the school will also receive additional funding to spend on extra support for your child. This additional funding continues to apply for several years after a student ceases to be eligible for free meals, and can open up opportunities for additional funding (such as vouchers during school holidays, and entitlement to sixth form bursary), so it’s still worth applying even if you think you will qualify for only a short period of time or don’t wish to have a free meal.

Changes to free school meal eligibility under Universal Credit

The eligibility criteria for free school meals have been changed this year, and the Government estimates that around 50,000 more pupils will benefit from a free school meal compared to the previous system. This letter explains the changes and how they might affect you.

What are the new eligibility criteria?

Children are entitled to receive free school meals if they or their parents or guardians receive any of the benefits below:

  • Universal Credit, provided they have an annual net earned income not exceeding £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190, as assessed by HMRC
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

I don’t currently claim free school meals – what does this mean for me?

If you think you might be eligible for free school meals, submit a claim via Northumberland County Council as follows:

  • Online:
  • By telephone: 01670 623 592
  • Paper applications – these can be returned upon completion to: Free School Meals Office, Northumberland County Council, Wansbeck Square, Ashington, NE63 9XL

Benefit details for applications can usually be checked on receipt. However, if confirmation cannot be found, you will be contacted to provide proof of benefit. The information you provide will be used to check if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and, if you are on Universal Credit, that your earnings do not exceed the threshold. If you claim Universal Credit, your earnings will be assessed from up to three of your last Universal Credit assessment periods. If you are eligible, your school will be notified. Your child will receive free school meals and the school will receive extra funding.

We appreciate that some parents do not claim free school meals as they feel that they can manage without, but the school will receive vital funding even if meals are not taken, and your child will be entitled to other types of support. With the cashless catering system we use, students can be assured of total anonymity. Their catering account is topped up automatically every day to the value of a ‘meal deal’, and this may be spent on meals or individual items. Please note that students cannot ‘save up’ their allowance from one day to the next. Money may be added to their account should you wish to purchase additional items above the free school meal allocation.

I am currently claiming free school meals – what does this mean for me?

Most people won’t be affected by the new criteria. If you’re currently claiming free school meals, but don’t meet the new criteria, your child will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the Universal Credit rollout period. This will apply even if your earnings rise above the new threshold or if you stop being entitled to Universal Credit. The rollout period is currently scheduled to end in March 2022.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, your child will keep their free school meal until the end of their current phase of education, i.e. primary or secondary.

Where can I get more information?

If you need any further information, please speak to a member of school staff or the local authority. You can also visit the free school meal website. If you would like any further information regarding our school lunches, please see our website or contact the school office.

If you think you might be eligible, please make a claim as soon as possible and use your entitlement – don’t let your school miss out on this important extra funding that will benefit your child.

Certain data will be held on the system to enable accurate operation. This will include the student’s name, registration group, photo, account balance and meal entitlement. This data is handled under the guidelines of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and only used by parties directly involved with the implementation of the system.