With pupils in England due to return to school on a full-time basis in September, parents may already be turning their attention to getting supplies for the new term - including school uniform.
Buying a new uniform can be an unwelcome cost, but some parents may be eligible for a £150 grant to make it cheaper.
Who is eligible for the grant?
To be eligible for the grant, your household must have an annual income of less than £16,190 per year, or you must be receiving one of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based job seeker’s allowance
- Child tax credit, provided you are not entitled to working tax credit
- Employment support allowance (ESA)
- State pension – as long as this benefit is 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.
Do all councils offer the grant?
As well as household earnings and benefits, whether you can claim the grant will also depend on where you live.
In England, the grant is not a statutory right and in recent years, many councils have been forced to scrap or reduce it due to lack of funding.
The amount you will receive is also dependent on where you live, with the maximum amount people can claim being £150.
Some councils, including Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Northumberland and Stockton do not offer the grant at all, while others may only provide £15 or £20 towards uniform costs.
In Wales, the government offers a pupil development grant instead, allowing parents to claim £125 per child, or £200 if they are starting Year 7, while in Northern Ireland the eligible criteria for a uniform grant is similar to the free school meals scheme.
In Scotland the school clothing grant is compulsory, with all councils required to offer a minimum of £100 per pupil.
How do I apply?
Eligible parents must apply for the grant between 30 June and 30 September, and will need to reapply every academic year. However, some councils will only offer the grant as a one-off payment.
If your child attends an academy school, you will not be able to apply as these are independently run.
To check if your local council offers the grant, you will need to visit the UK government website and enter your postcode.
You will then be asked a number of questions and be told how much you are eligible to receive. Payments will be made by cheque.