BUDGET school uniforms are flying off the shelves as cash-strapped parents rush to snap up bargains before the beginning of the school year.
But did you know that some families can get up to £150 towards school uniform and PE kit costs for their children?
And the extra help is needed, considering school policies — and the rising costs of uniforms — mean a million kids’ families fall into debt paying for clobber according to research from charity The Children’s Society.
So where can struggling parents find help meeting back-to-school costs? And how do you apply?
What is a school clothing grant?
Under the Education Act 1996, local authorities have the power to provide financial help to parents on low incomes to assist them with buying school clothing for their children.
How can I find out whether I qualify?
AS a parent, you may be entitled to certain types of financial help, depending on your financial circumstances.
Some local councils provide help with the cost of school clothing, including PE kit.
The government provides an online central service to help parents find out if their council will help them.
The service will then redirect you to your local authority's website, where you can find the relevant information by looking at the "Education" tab.
But this is not a statutory duty.
Sadly, this means parents face a postcode lottery – as each council chooses whether to offer financial aid, who is eligible and what items they will help pay for.
Who is eligible for financial help?
Again, this will depend on your local authority, but as a general rule, grants are available for people on a range of benefits including jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment benefit or pension tax credits.
Often, children that qualify for free school meals will also qualify for uniform help – if it is offered by a specific council.
In some cases, financial help will be dependent on your children’s age or what type of school they are attending.
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