Parents getting free £200 payments 'per school child' thanks to new grant

Parents can get £200 to help with school uniform costs as part of a new government grant. Mums and dads in Wales can claim the free cash through the country's School Essentials Grant and applications for this year's scheme opened on July 1.

Children whose families are on lower incomes and qualify for certain benefits can apply for a grant of £125 per learner or £200 for learners entering year 7 (to help with increased costs associated with starting secondary school). All compulsory school years from reception to year 11 (or equivalent) are now eligible.

All looked after children qualify for the grant, whether they receive free school meals or not. Learners who receive free school meals due to transitional protection arrangements do not qualify. Families are only entitled to claim once per child, per school year.

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The 2023 to 2024 scheme closed on 31 May 2024 and is no longer taking applications. The new grant scheme will open on 1 July 2024 and will close on 31 May 2025. If you're eligible, the grant can be spent on a range of items including school uniform, including coats and shoes.

School sports kit, including footwear, can also be purchases, as well as IT equipment, uniform for enrichment activities, including but not limited to scouts, guides, cadets, martial arts, sports, performing arts, or dance and also equipment - for example, school bags and stationery.

Specialist equipment where new curriculum activities begin, such as design and technology and equipment for out-of-school hours' trips such as outdoor learning - for example, water proofs - are also included. The Welsh Government stated: "For further information on eligibility or the application process, please contact your local authority directly."

If your circumstances have changed recently, or if you receive certain benefits, your child may be eligible for Free School Meals too.