SOON British parents will have the opportunity to register their kids to get money off their school uniform.
But what is the School Uniform Grant, are you eligible and how do you apply? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the School Uniform Grant?
Parents in the UK will soon be able to apply for up to £150 off their child’s school uniform.
It’s part of the Education Act 1980 and is offered by the Government to help families on low incomes manage their budgets.
The benefit is compulsory in Scotland, where local authorities are obliged to pay qualifying families at least £100 per child.
However, in England, it’s not a statutory right, and many councils have been forced to scrap – or reduce – it in recent years over funding rows.
Right now, residents in York can apply for up to £70 off, while those in Islington, London, can claim up to £150 off.
But in the past 12 months dozens of councils that have withdrawn from the scheme – meaning many parents who previously qualified, no longer will.
This includes councils such as Stockton, Cornwall, Cambridgeshire and Northumberland – while other areas such as Nottinghamshire now only pay it to children with special educational needs.
Regardless, it’s always worth checking your local authority to see if you qualify. If you don’t you may be able to apply for a reduction from your child’s school, instead.
Are you eligible?
The Education Act says “local authorities must make provision for the clothing of pupils that would otherwise be unable to afford schoolwear”.
But it isn’t compulsory in England.
The amount you can claim depends on your local council’s budget, but grants are available for people on a range of benefits including job seeker’s allowance, income-related employment or support under the national asylum seekers support system (Nass).
You can also apply if your annual income is less than £16,190.
The scheme won’t be applicable if your child is enrolled at an academy as these are independently-run.
To claim the grant you must be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Job seeker’s allowance (income based)
- Child tax credit – provided 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.
In Wales, the Government offers a Pupil Development Grant (PDG) instead.
Applications for this tend to open in early July and each grant is worth £125 or £200 if the child is in year 7. The money can be spent on anything from school uniforms to educational trips and equipment. The closing date is 31 December 2019.
In Scotland, the School Clothing Grant is now compulsory – with all councils required to offer a minimum of £100.
How to apply online
If you’re on a low income and claim one of the below benefits, you’ll be able to enquire about the scheme from Sunday June 30.
To be eligible, you have to be earning less than £16,190 a year.
To find out if your council offers it, just enter your postcode into the Gov.uk page for school uniform support.
Once you’ve located your authority, you’ll be directed to other types of support you might qualify for around ‘education and learning’ such as travel relief, free school meals and help with childcare.
Generally applications can only be made between 30 June and 30 September, but double check the date with your local authority.
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You’ll have to re-apply per child for each academic year.
Some councils will only pay the grant once.
A cheque will be paid into a bank or building society account in your name.