Thousands of parents can get up to £200 to put towards school uniform costs - how to apply

The child missed out on months of education
-Credit: (Image: PA Archive/PA Images)


The summer holidays are fast approaching, but the impending cost of school uniforms come September is already a concern for thousands of parents. If you're on a low income, you might be eligible to claim up to £200 towards this expense from your local council.

Usually, you need to be claiming benefits or receiving free school meals, but this can vary depending on each local authority's rules. Some councils also consider the age of your child when determining eligibility.

All councils in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales provide this support, along with some in England, although funding has been cut in recent years.

The provision of help isn't a statutory requirement in England, meaning councils aren't obligated to offer the support. Recent research from the Schoolwear Association estimates that the average cost of compulsory school uniform and sportswear is £101.19 per pupil per year.

However, research by The Children's Society suggests the cost is £422 per year for secondary school pupils and £287 for primary school pupils, reports the Mirror.

Explaining school uniform grants

For those living in England: Last year, only 31 councils in England offered school uniform grants, according to MoneySavingExpert.com, so parents face a postcode lottery for this support. The amount of help you could be entitled to also varies.

For instance, the City of London council provides a grant of £160 for secondary school pupils, while families under Sandwell Council received £25 last year.

You'll likely need to be on a low income, receiving benefits or getting free school meals to qualify for this support. If you're unsure about your local council, enter your postcode on GOV.UK.

If you live in Scotland: All councils in Scotland offer school uniform grants worth at least £120 for primary school children, and £150 for secondary school students. Councils have the discretion to pay more than this.

For example, Shetland Islands Council can provide a grant of £150 for early years, £180 for primary school pupils and £225 for secondary school students.

The eligibility criteria vary among councils but again, in most cases, you need to be claiming free school meals or benefits. Most councils will accept applications from July until the end of March.

If you reside in Wales: All councils in Wales offer school uniform grants worth £125, or £200 if your child is transitioning into secondary school. The 2024/25 scheme is currently open and will close on May 31, 2025.

Again, each council sets its own eligibility criteria and you typically need to be on a low income or claiming certain benefits. Find more details on Gov.Wales.

If you reside in Northern Ireland: Families in Northern Ireland can avail up to £93.60 towards the cost of school uniforms for secondary school students aged 15 or older as of August 1, 2024. For those in secondary school but under the age of 15, the rate is £87.60.

Primary school pupils are eligible for a grant worth £42.90. The deadline to apply for the new school year is July 26, 2024, via the Education Authority website.

To qualify for the school uniform grant, certain benefits must be claimed.

Alternative ways to get help with school uniform

If your local authority doesn't provide a school uniform grant, you might be able to claim assistance through its Household Support Fund. It's also worth talking to your school about what help they can offer.

Some charities also provide grants to help cover school uniform costs - although typically, you'll need to be on a low income or claiming benefits. Turn2Us has a free grants search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.

Keep an eye on local buy-and-sell Facebook groups for other parents selling school uniform.

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