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Can I apply for the school uniform grant? How to check if you can claim support in your area as costs stay high

Inflation and the cost of living crisis is biting into household finances, with some parents claiming to now forgo family holidays to afford uniform.

The Children’s Society claims parents spend on average £422 a year on secondary and £287 on primary uniforms, with branded items costing even more.

Incorrect uniform can result in stigma and bullying, and can become a barrier for education – and so the Government said it was working to ensure “uniform costs are reasonable”.

There are grants available for those who need support. However, payments vary depending on the local council. Here’s everything you need to know…

Who is eligible for a school uniform grant?

Eligibility for the school uniform grant first depends on where you live, as it is paid out by local authorities. The amount you can get also depends on where you live.

All local authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offer the grant, but some in England do not.

You can use the Government’s online postcode checker to see if the grant is available in your area.

Eligibility criteria is set by the individual authorities, but tends to be fairly similar across the board.

You will often be eligible if you receive at least one of the following:

  • Universal credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The “guaranteed element” of pension credit
  • Working tax credit “run-on”

If your child qualifies for free school meals, they should generally qualify for a uniform grant too.

If your local authority does not offer the grant you can ask your school directly, as they may be able to help.

How do I get the grant?

You should apply for the grant by contacting your local council. They have online portals that allow you to do so.

The amount you get varies depending on where you live.

In Scotland each child gets at least £120 (£150 for secondary school pupils). Most councils will accept applications from July until the end of March.

Wales offers up to £300 for a child entering Year 7, and £225 per learner. Families are only entitled to claim once per child, per school year and requests will close on 30 June, 2023.

In Northern Ireland you can get up to £67.20 per child.

You can get:

  • £42.90 for a primary school pupil
  • £61.20 for a post primary/special school pupil under 15 years old
  • £67.20 for a post primary/special school pupil over 15 years old
  • £26.40 for a post primary/special school pupil physical education kit

Support in England ranges from £30-150 per child.

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