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Can You Claim A Up-to £200 Grant For School Uniform?


Are you able to claim a school uniform grant from your local council?


Can You Get A School Uniform Grant From your Local Council?


The cost of living crisis has hit many people hard. If you are on a low income and are struggling with school uniform costs and are concerned that with a new school year approaching, you will have to make some new uniform purchases that you simply can't afford, you may be able to apply for a grant from your local council to help with the cost of school uniforms for the next academic year.


Firstly, it's important to mention that some councils do offer grants, but not all of them do, and they will likely not be able to supply totally free school uniforms. However, you may be fortunate to live in an area where you can receive at least some financial assistance. Under the Education Act 1990, local authorities could provide financial help, from public funds to parents on low incomes to assist them with buying school clothing for their children. While not all councils are required to do this, some still do, so you could benefit from this support! 



Who can claim a school uniform grant?


You may be able to claim, normally via an online application, sometimes via a paper form, 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, which are the same eligibility criteria as those children eligible for free school meals:


  • Child tax credit

  • 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

  • Universal 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 benefits to your account.


Unfortunately, the grants are a postcode lottery. Still, it's easy enough to check if your council is offering extra assistance by using the government's postcode checking tool. This tool covers the whole of the UK and will confirm if your local authority is offering the grant. Most councils aren't offering these grants to help with school uniform costs due to current funding issues, but some still do, so it's worth checking! 


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 have 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. 


School Essential Grants


If you work in a grocery environment, e.g., work in a supermarket, you might be able to claim a school essentials grant, which is a grant available via the Grocery Aid charity. Its important to note that the 2024 grant application process has ended, its only open for. a few days in June, but you can sign up for updates and further information for the 2025 grant.  GroceryAid supports people who work or have worked in Grocery. This includes anyone who works for a supermarket, wholesaler, manufacturer, supplier, convenience store, independent grocer, petrol forecourt store or service provider to the grocery industry. In 2024, the School Essentials Grant provided £1m of support for grocery colleagues' school-aged children this year after securing funding from The Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust. This funding provided a £150 non-repayable grant for every child of school age, up to a maximum of three children per eligible household, up to the fund total.




 

Do schools have to have a school uniform?


According to a dedicated government website for the Department Of Education, school uniforms can create a sense of identity and community for a school and its pupils, reduce peer pressure for the latest clothes and help children feel settled and prepared for lessons, but they can be costly for parents.


It will inevitably vary, but fundamentally, the costs of school uniforms should not be so expensive that pupils or their families feel unable to apply to or attend a school of their choice or type due to the high costs of new school uniforms.


Legally binding guidance on the cost of school uniforms was announced in 2021, by the Department Of Education, which schools must take into account when developing and implementing their own uniform policy. This is expected to be implemented by this Summer by all UK schools unless they are tied into a contract with a uniform company.


Schools should prioritise considering the cost to parents and carers when deciding on a uniform policy. This includes the cost of providing extra clothing that pupils will need to wear outside the classroom, such as a PE kit.


Schools should:​

  • Keep branded items to a minimum and be limited to low-cost or long-lasting items.

  • Prioritise considering cost and value for money in their supply arrangements.

  • Make second-hand uniforms available and accessible for parents and carers

  • Publish their uniform policy on their website and ensure it is easily understood

  • Engage with parents and pupils on cost issues when they are developing their uniform policy


Other options for cheap school uniform


Alternatively, have a browse through Facebook Marketplace to see if anyone has any second-hand uniforms for sale. As the school term ends for the summer holidays, many parents will offer their child school clothing for sale due to the child outgrowing the uniform and the parents not wanting to buy the child any new uniform when the term ends soon, ( I know my wife and I try and keep that uniform going for as long as possible, as you can guarantee that if you buy uniform before the end of the term, the child will have outgrown it by the new term!), or the child has left the school, so it's a good time to look!


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 uniforms directly from the main uniform suppliers, it goes without saying that plain white t-shirts, plain jumpers, socks, coats, etc., can be bought from 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 in June/July every year. 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! 


Confirmed uniform discount dates for July 2024 are:


Aldi £5 school uniform bundle: July 4th

Tesco 25% off school uniform: 23rd July - Need to be a Clubcard holder

Asda 20% off school uniform: 27th - 30th July

M&S 20% off school uniform: 2nd July

​Already finished promotions:

Sainsbury's 25% off school uniform: 19th June - 27th June  - Need to be a Nectar Cardholder



Remember that you can buy gift cards for most of the above retailers from JamDoughnut and receive cashback, which helps to keep your school uniform costs down!



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