Thousands of parents eligible for £150 School Uniform Grant - here's how to apply
Thousands of parents may be eligible to apply for a one-off discount to help cover back to school costs from this Sunday (30 June), as applications for the School Uniform Grant open.
Parents in England, Wales and Scotland could be eligible for the discount, which offers up to £150 off your child's expenses for the new academic year.
The School Uniform Grant is part of the Education Act 1980 and is offered by the Government to help low income families manage their budgets.
How it works
In Scotland, the benefit is compulsory and local authorities are obliged to pay qualifying families at least £100 per child.
However, in England it is not a statutory right, and in recent years many councils have been forced to scrap or reduce it, due to funding rows.
There is regional variation too: residents in York can apply for up to £70 off, while those in Islington can claim up to £150.
According to The Mirror, dozens of councils have withdrawn from the scheme in the past 12 months, meaning many parents who previously qualified for the grant no longer will.
This includes councils in Stockton, Cornwall, Cambridgeshire and Northumberland, while other areas, such as Nottinghamshire, now only grant it to children with special educational needs.
Parents can check with their local authority to see if they qualify, and in some cases they may be able to apply for a reduction from their child's school instead.
Who is eligible for the School Uniform Grant?
The Education Act states that "local authorities must make provision for the clothing of pupils that would otherwise be unable to afford schoolwear" - although it is not compulsory in England.
To be eligible for the grant your annual income must be less than £16,190 per year.
You must also be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Job seeker's allowance (income based)
- Child tax credit (providing you are not entitled to working tax credit)
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
- State pension (this benefit must be your sole source of income)
- Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal Credit
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.
How to apply
If you are on a low income and claim one of the benefits listed above, you will be able to enquire about the grant from this Sunday (30 June) when applications open online.
To find out if your local council offers the grant, you will need to visit Gov.uk and enter your postcode.
The scheme will not be applicable if your child is enrolled at an academy, as these are independently run.
The amount you claim depends on the budget of your local council, and as it is not a statutory duty in England, the available amounts, and terms, tend to vary.
In Wales, the Government offers a Pupil Development Grant (PDG) instead, with applications typically opening in early July.
And in Scotland, the School Clothing Grant is now compulsory, with all councils required to offer a minimum of £100.