LOW-INCOME families struggling with the cost of living can get up to £300 free cash to help pay for school uniforms.
It comes as new figures from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) reveal putting a child through education costs up to £1,750 a year.
Local councils have the power to provide parents with grants to help them buy skirts, trousers and more under the Education Act 1990.
But there's no legal obligation for them to offer help so what you are entitled to can be a postcode lottery, plus you might not get any help at all.
Research by The Sun in August 2022 revealed just 11 areas where residents could get grants worth up to £200 to help buy school uniform.
This included all residents in Wales, where the devolved Government there offers the "Pupil Development Grant".
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Meanwhile, Northern Ireland residents can get help through a similar programme.
Scheme eligibility and availability can vary depending on where you live so it's worth checking what's available where you are.
Plus, even if you aren't eligible for a school uniform grant you might be able to get help through the Household Support Fund.
You have to apply via your local council.
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It comes as new figures from the CPAG reveal the cost of supporting a secondary school child through education is £39 a week.
The non-profit also found the cost of putting a primary school-aged child through education was £19 a week.
The figures were based on the cost of uniform, learning materials, school trips, packed lunch and transport.
Excluding before and after-school childcare and household costs like printers, the research found the annual cost of putting a child through secondary school is £1,755.97.
Meanwhile, the figure for a primary school child is £864.87.
That’s a staggering £18,345.85 for children to go through all 14 years of education.
Kate Anstey, from the Child Poverty Action Group, said: "Parents are guilt-stricken when their kids are left out at school but when you can’t cover the electricity bill, how is a new PE kit affordable?
"Our research shows there’s a hefty and often hidden price tag for just the basic essentials needed for school.
"For struggling families it can feel more like pay-as-you-go than universal education.
"It’s on each national Government to intervene and ensure that every child has at the very least the essentials required to take part in school and learn.
"Without that intervention, the very idea of universal education and equal life chances for children is undermined."
Who is eligible for the school uniform grant?
While there is no exact criteria for receiving a school uniform grant, they are typically available to people on benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseeker's allowance and Child Tax Credits.
Children who qualify for free school meals will usually also qualify for school uniform grants as well, so long as your council offers grants.
In some cases, financial support will depend on your child’s age or what type of school they are attending.
How much can I get?
What you can get depends on where you live, as there's no statutory duty to offer grants across the whole of the UK.
The Welsh Government has extended the Pupil Development Grant which is open until June 30, 2023.
Under it, families can get grants worth up to £300 to buy school uniform, including footwear and bags, plus laptops and tablets too.
But you have to be on any number of benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support.
Meanwhile, households in Scotland can get grants worth up to £120 for each primary school age child and £150 for every secondary school age child.
In Northern Ireland, like in Wales, the money is allocated from the devolved Government to councils who distribute the grants.
Applications for the 2023/24 year are not currently available though.
In England, what you can get will vary depending on what council area you fall under.
But when The Sun approached councils in August 2022, we found one in Essex offering up to £150 for each child.
How do I apply?
The application process will vary depending on where you live.
The best thing to do is contact your local council to see if you can get any help, and then find out what the application process involves.
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For example, Tower Hamlets, one of the poorest London boroughs, is offering eligible residents £110 for each child for the 2023/24 education year.
You can apply via the council's website.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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