Can You Get A School Uniform Grant?
If you are on a low income and are finding yourself struggling with the cost of school uniforms, and concerned that with a new school year approaching, you are going to have to make some new uniform purchases that you simply can't afford, then you may be able to apply for a school uniform grant from your local council.
Firstly it's important to mention that not all councils offer a grant, most don't, but you may be lucky and live in an area where you can get some financial assistance. Under the Education Act 1990, local authorities do have the power to provide financial help to parents on low incomes to assist them with buying school clothing for their children; however, the councils in England are not actually required to do this, and with councils having budgets slashed, and ever-increasing costs, most councils simply don't have the funds to help. Still, some do, so it's worth investigating!
You may be able to claim up to around £150 - £200 as a grant, which doesn't need to be repaid if your household has an annual income of less than £16,190 per year, or you are receiving one of the following benefits:
Child tax credit
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
Working tax credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for working tax credit
You may find councils requiring additional criteria for receiving a grant, such as your child moving from one school to another and needing a whole new uniform, rather than the child simply outgrowing their current uniform. You must also prove that you are legally responsible for the child by sending the school admissions and benefits team a recent copy of your bank statement confirming the payment of child benefit to your account.
It's easy enough to check if your council are offering extra assistance by using the government's postcode checking tool, which covers the whole of the UK, and will confirm if your local authority is offering the grant.
You need to apply as soon as possible, as limited resources are available, as you can imagine. Usually, claims can be made from July through March, depending on any individual country or council's policy.
Now, again it's worth mentioning that most people won't be able to get the grant, but if not, it's worth speaking to your Child's school to see if they any extra uniform availability or if perhaps the school are going to be having a uniform sale, which many do, to help raise funds for the school through the sale of excess/donated uniform, or even lost property.
Alternatively, have a browse through Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone has a uniform for sale or if your child's school has a Facebook page, ask on there if anyone has any old uniforms they are looking to sell/giveaway, or put a request on local social media sites, asking if anybody has any as well, many people often don't think to list old uniform, and so seeing someone asking on Facebook etc., may well result in them offering up uniform to you, I've seen it happen frequently.
Also, check on Olio, the food waste app, and although this isn't food waste, there is a non-food section, and you may find uniforms listed, or you can make a request for anyone with any spare uniform.
Avoid buying non branded uniform direct from the main uniform suppliers, it goes without saying that plain white t-shirts, plain jumpers, socks, coats etc., can be bought from the discount retailers such as Primark and the supermarkets, and this will save you a fortune, and let's face it, a white t-shirt is likely to be far from white, after a being worn a few times, so no point spending a fortune on something that's going to be ruined in no time!
Most supermarkets will have special offers on back-to-school wear. Even the traditionally more expensive retailers such as M&S, come up with some cracking deals to keep the kids clothed on a budget, so it's well worth looking around and also searching for terms such as 'cheap school uniform' on Facebook and Instagram, as people will often shout out about uniform bargains they have found one social media, and this may help you find the better deal!