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Millions of parents in the UK are owed up to £150 for having a child in school

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 25/06/2021 Rachel Pugh & Levi Winchester

Parents with children in school in the UK could be owed as much as £150 each thanks to a little-known rule.

Any parents struggling to pay towards the cost of their kids' uniforms can claim up to £150 from their local council.

Because the money is a grant, it doesn't need to be paid back.

The help provided does vary between local authorities - meaning the amount you could get, and the eligibility criteria, can be a postcode lottery.

For example, earlier this year, the Mirror noted how residents in Gloucestershire could apply for up to £25 off, while those in Islington, London, could get as much as £150.

But some councils have pulled the support altogether due to lack of funding - so it may not even be available in some areas.

This is because even though the help falls under the Education Act 1990, it isn't a statutory right in England - and there are separate systems in place for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

We explain how to find what help is being offered by your council below.

It comes after a new school uniform law was finally given the green light in April this year, which is designed to restrict the number of pricey branded items a school can request their pupils wear.

Instead, hard-up families can buy cheaper supermarket clothing to save them cash.

Of course, the amount the new bill could save in reality does depend on how many children you have and exactly how much you currently pay for uniform.

According to The Children’s Society, parents currently spend an average of £337 on uniform for each child at secondary school, and £315 for kids at primary school.

However, The Schoolwear Association puts this figure at £101.19 per child in secondary school, on average.

Who can claim the school uniform grant?

As each council sets its own eligibility criteria, you'll need to check your local authority's website to see if you're entitled to help.

But generally speaking, the grants are usually available for children who get free school meals.

To qualify for free school meals – and therefore potentially also get help with school uniform costs – you need to be claiming benefits, such as Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit.

Keep in mind the help offered may also depend on your child's age, or what type of school they are attending, and your earnings and savings may be taken into account.

You can check if your local council offers a school uniform grant - and how much support they can give you - by entering your postcode into the Gov.uk website.

If your council does not offer support, the Department for Education (DfE) previously told Mirror Money that parents may be able to apply for a reduction instead.

If in doubt, contact your child's school to see what help they could potentially offer you.

A DfE spokewoman said: "Our guidance emphasises that schools should give highest priority to cost considerations.

"No school uniform should be so expensive as to leave pupils or their families feeling unable to apply to, or attend a school of their choice due to the cost of the uniform."

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.

In Scotland, the School Clothing Grant is now compulsory - with all councils required to offer a minimum of £100.

And for those in Northern Ireland, primary-age pupils can receive £35.75 towards uniforms and PE kit, secondary school kids under 15 can get £73, and kids in school over 15 can get £78.

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