PARENTs struggling with living costs can get up to £300 in free cash to help pay for school uniforms.
Many local councils provide families with grants to cover the cost of skirts, pants and more.
But what you’re entitled to depends on where you live, whether it’s Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England.
That said, help is often provided to low-income or benefit families.
The grants go by different names. For example, in Scotland it is called a school clothing allowance while in the UK it is called a school uniform subsidy.
Plans also open at different times, so you should always check with your local council if you can apply for help.
If you don’t know which council area you’re in, you can use Government council locator on its website.
Either way, The Sun has reached out to local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland to find out what they are offering now and for the 2023/24 school year.
All Welsh authorities are providing grants and in Scotland and England it depends on where you live,
The scheme for students in Northern Ireland is not yet open but residents there can check the Education Authority’s website, eani.org.uk, which will let you know when the grant is available.
What can I get if I live in Wales?
All local authorities in Wales are providing “essential school” grants of up to £300 per pupil for the current school year.
They are available to low-income families and certain benefits include Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and Child Tax Credit.
The 2022/23 program is still active but will end on June 30, so you only have a few weeks to ask for any help this year.
Under the scheme, each eligible child receives at least £225 and secondary school children receive £300.
The Welsh Government has increased payments by £100 to further support struggling families with higher bills.
The above amount includes an additional payment of £100 for this year only.
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said planning for 2023/24 would start on 1 July.
From that date, each eligible child will receive a minimum of £125 while those entering secondary school will receive £200.
You can register for either year on the Welsh Government website.
What can I get if I live in the UK?
Compared to Wales, there is no universal grant for all students across England.
Many local governments do not provide residents with direct subsidies to help cover the cost of uniforms, although some do.
For example, Islington Council, in London, is offering grants worth £150 for students moving from primary to secondary school and free school meals. You can apply through its website.
Meanwhile, Nottingham City Council is offering varying amounts depending on the child’s school year.
School-age students can get £15 to cover clothing costs while Year 9 students can get £30.
You can apply by downloading the form available on the board’s website.
In either case, you will need to receive a qualifying benefit to receive help.
Meanwhile, Haringey Council is offering residents £60 to help with school uniform costs for the 2023/24 school year.
But you can only get cash if your child was born between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012 and they are transferring to middle school this September.
Additionally, Hammersmith and Fulham Council is offering grants of up to £79 to families who qualify for free school meals.
Those with children aged four to seven by September 1 will receive £31. Meanwhile, those with children aged 11 or 14 before September 1 will receive £79.
Both Haringey and Hammersmith and Fulham residents can apply via their respective council websites.
At Tower Hamlets, families can receive £110 for each child entering the 2023/24 school year.
You can apply via the council’s website, but only until September 30.
Meanwhile, Hackney Council is offering a £100 grant to families and you can apply on the council’s website.
Again, in both areas, you’ll have to receive certain benefits to qualify for help.
Local councils in the UK set their own criteria for uniform payments, meaning what is available and when it applies will vary depending on where you live.
That means you can still get help for the current school year.
The best thing to do is check with your local council about what help is available and when to apply.
What can I get if I live in Scotland?
Some councils in Scotland offer grants to families to help cover the cost of uniforms.
However, like in the UK, the amount varies depending on where you live.
For example, the Shetland Islands Council is offering grants worth up to £225 depending on the age of the child for the 2023/24 school year.
Meanwhile, Fife Council is offering families £170 per primary age child and £200 per secondary school age student.
In both of these regions, residents will need to receive certain benefits to qualify, including Income Assistance and Universal Credit.
You can apply for a grant through your local council website.
The Scottish Government website says most local authorities accept applications between July and the end of March each year.
So you may have to wait a bit until you can apply for the 2023/24 school year.
Grants are also usually paid in July or August before the new school year begins, but this varies by local government.
In any case, you should check with your local council about what support is available.
More help with school uniform costs
If you are unable to get targeted help from your council, you may have some other options available to you.
In some areas, you can talk to your school directly, they can provide you with clothing.
Or, you can buy cheap clothes from boutiques or charity shops.
Some charities also help families in need.
In Camden, London, for example, residents can apply for help through the St Pancras Welfare Trust, Glasspool or London Ragamuffins.
But keep in mind that charities often have a limited amount to donate and often have specific criteria that need to be met in order to receive a grant.
The Turn2Us charity has a free aid finder on its website that you can use to find out what help is available to you.
In the meantime, you can always try reaching your nearest Citizens Advice branch.
If you don’t know where the nearest Citizens Advice branch is, you can use the branch locator on their website.
If you are not eligible for the school uniform subsidy, you can get help through the Household Assistance Fund.
The fund is worth £842 million and is distributed by councils in the UK.
But each local government has been given a unique share of the pot which means what you can get depending on where you live.
Money is being shared between households in different ways, through vouchers or cash payments.
While the help isn’t always specifically allocated to spending on school uniforms, you can use it for that purpose if you wish.
To apply you will have to contact your local council.
If you don’t know which group you belong to, you can use the Government’s council locator online.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org