Cash-strapped parents feel the pinch at this time of year with all the costs of getting the kids ready to go back to school.
The expense of kitting out kids for the start of a new school year can mount up quickly, from new shoes, shirts and trousers to P.E. kits, rucksacks and stationery.
Clothing children for school costs on average a whopping £6,543 over the full 12 years in education, according to a recent Oxfam poll.
But did you know that you could be eligible for a grant to help with the costs?
According to the Education Act 1996, local authorities can provide financial help to families on low incomes to assist with buying school clothing for their children. According to The Sun, this means that families can claim up to £135 towards school uniform costs for their children.
But this is not a given. Which sadly means parents face a postcode lottery as each council can choose whether to offer financial help or not, who is eligible and what items they will give help for.
How do I know if I’m eligible for help with school uniform costs?
The first step would be to contact your child’s school or local authority. As a general rule, these kinds of grants are available for people on a range of benefits such as job seeker allowance, income-related employment or support under the national asylum seekers support system (NASS).
You can also qualify if your annual income is less than £16,190. In some cases though, financial help is dependant on your child’s age or the type of school they are attending.
How much can I claim?
The amount varies from across the UK. According to The Sun’s survey of 14 councils, including 10 London boroughs, the amount low-income parents can claim also varies across the UK with grants ranging anywhere from £45 up to £150 for those whose children are moving to secondary school.
However, some councils don’t give any school clothing grants at all.
Who else can help?
Alternatively, Citizens Advice say that some charities give grants to parents to help with the costs of education but you should keep in mind that they do tend to have very specific criteria which must be met in order to receive any aid.
What do you think? Will you be applying for this financial aid?