Calculate your school milk subsidy milk consumed from 1 August 2017

Find out how much milk, milk products or yoghurt you can claim for under the scheme and how to price subsidised milk in a school.

Calculate your maximum entitlement

Eligible pupils may receive up to 250ml of subsidised milk products each school day. Therefore, the maximum volume of milk you can claim is 250ml per pupil per day. Claims must be based on the actual milk you distribute.

To work out your maximum entitlement, you should use this calculation:

Calculate you maximum entitement
The number of school days when curricular education takes place Multiplied by the number of pupils on the school roll Multiplied again by 0.00025 (this is the maximum daily allowance of 250ml in kilolitres) Round to 3 decimal places
For example:      
29 school days x 763 pupils x 0.00025 = 5.532 kilolitres

You can simplify the number of pupils on the school roll by using the number of pupils in the most recent ‘school census’. You can only use the census details for claim periods that fall within the same school year as the census was taken. Do not include pupils under 5 years old who are being claimed for under the Nursery Milk Scheme.

You must only claim for quantities that were actually distributed to eligible pupils during the claim period. Also, you must not claim for more than the maximum entitlement for that claim period.

If you’re claiming for more than one school, you must make sure that you do not claim for more than the maximum entitlement for any school, even if your total claim is not more than the overall maximum entitlement.

Flavoured milk

RPA uses the percentage of added sugar you declare on your claim to calculate the volume of milk eligible for subsidy. This will reduce your payment for flavoured milk.

Subsidy rates

RPA publishes the Milk (Whole/Semi) Subsidy Rates 2020-21 (PDF, 141KB, 2 pages) before the beginning of the school year. You can use them to calculate the amount of subsidy you could receive.

The rate for EU subsidy in England, Scotland and Wales is €186.945 per kilolitre for milk and yoghurt.

This rate is converted to sterling using the most recent exchange rate which applies prior to 1 January before the beginning of the school year that the claim period is in.

The rate for EU subsidy is topped up nationally for pupils in primary education and pupils over 11 years old receiving primary education in both special or secondary schools.

This top up rate is £39.855 per kilolitre.

How to use the subsidy

If a school provides pupils with free milk products, the subsidy is considered to have been passed on to the pupils.

If a school charges pupils for milk products, the subsidy must be used to reduce:

  • the cost of the products
  • any fees which include the cost of the products
  • the cost of any set price meal that includes the cost of the products.

Any price reductions made to pupils as a result of having received the subsidy should be clearly shown on school fee bills or receipts or mentioned in school literature.

In all these cases, you must have evidence that demonstrates how selling prices are worked out.

All the prices charged must also meet with the maximum selling price rules.

Maximum selling price rules

You must make sure that no more than 7 pence per portion (including administrative costs) is charged above the cost of the milk product, after the price has been reduced by the amount of subsidy received.

Calculate the maximum selling price
Purchase price paid to the supplier including any discounts but excluding any delivery charges Minus subsidy Plus no more than 7 pence per portion administration and distribution charge to cover the costs of operating the scheme Equals price charged to pupil

The purchase price you use to calculate your selling price mustn’t include any administrative costs, delivery charges or other incidentals.

If you buy supplies at different prices over the period you’re claiming for, you can use an average price in your calculation. Just divide the total cost of the supply by the total volume.

When you’ve calculated your selling price you can use it for a term or for a whole school year.

If you’ve used your selling price calculation for the whole school year, you may later find it needs to be updated because, for example, there was a change to the purchase price of the milk. The following term, you can change to calculating the selling price each term and adjust it to rectify any loss or profit you’ve made previously.

Products won’t be eligible for the subsidy if the price is more than the maximum selling price or if the administrative and distribution charges can’t be justified.

Administrative costs and distribution charges

England, Scotland and Wales

You must:

  • provide proof of any administrative costs and distribution charges made to the pupil (proof of administrative costs more than 3 pence but not more than 7 pence per portion must be provided at the beginning of the school year)
  • show that these costs are not more than the markup on similar products, for example on a glass of fruit juice, squash, or carbonated (fizzy) drink if you sell any.

Some costs may be paid centrally by the school or local authority claiming. Others may be paid from a maintained school’s delegated budget. In these cases, you’ll need to agree locally how the costs will be shared and be able to show this in your records.

Examples of administrative and distribution costs you can claim for include:

  • school and local authority staff time spent
    • distributing milk
    • dealing with suppliers
    • compiling claims
    • paying supplier invoices
    • maintaining records to support claims
    • management checking of claims
    • supervising pupils while they consume milk
    • stocking milk
    • removing refuse
    • cleaning refrigerators
  • refrigeration costs
    • purchase
    • leasing
    • maintenance
    • running costs (including electricity)
  • administrative costs to promote the scheme
    • paper
    • envelopes
    • postage
    • telephone costs
    • printing
  • cleaning materials, like washing up liquid
  • beakers, cups and straws
  • refuse disposal costs
    • extra waste containers
    • waste collection
  • storage of invoices and other records for the required 3 year minimum, or transfer of records to microfiche or electronic formats.


In Wales, for pupils in Key Stage 1 you can claim for the full cost of milk, plus a contribution to administrative costs. To claim these costs, you need to send proof to RPA at the start of each school year that the costs are at least 3 pence per portion. If you claim for these costs you’ll be paid at a rate of £158.378 per kilolitre for Key Stage 1 milk.

You don’t have to claim for administrative costs, but if you choose to claim for them you can only include them in the claim they relate to.

Templates to help you work out your administrative costs are available by calling RPA on 0330 041 6500.

To claim for the full cost of an expensive item (for example, a refrigerator), you should spread the cost over several claims. There is no limit to the number of claims you can spread the cost over throughout a year, but you must be able to show that the cost is equivalent to more than 3 pence per portion.

If you are claiming for pupils in Wales in Key Stage 1 as well as pupils not in Key Stage 1 you’ll need to submit 2 separate claims for each claim period to cover:

  • pupils eligible for free school milk (Key Stage 1)
  • other pupils eligible for the subsidy

For pupils in Wales, RPA will pay the EU subsidy and:

  • up to the full cost of the milk and milk products (as well as any eligible administrative costs you claim) for pupils in Key Stage 1
  • the national top up payment for pupils in Key Stage 2.

More information

You can read more information about:

Published 26 June 2017
Last updated 10 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Milk (Whole/Semi) Subsidy Rates 2020-21 added

  2. Made the Milk (Whole and Semi) - Subsidy Rates Annex 1 2019 to 2020 accessible

  3. Milk (Whole/Semi) Subsidy Rates 2019-20 added

  4. School Milk rates added for 2018 - 19

  5. reverted back to old figures as the new figures need to go on an updated page

  6. Added subsidy rates for 2018 - 19

  7. First published.