Cumbria County Council’s cabinet has approved a significant increase to school clothing grants in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
The £500,000 worth of additional funding has been allocated to the school clothing grant fund as part of a new £2m cost of living reserve fund.
This means that eligible parents will now receive a clothing grant worth £50 for each primary school child, up from £25, and £100 for each secondary school child, up from £35.
Councillor Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “It’s so important that all eligible parents continue to apply for free school meals, including those with infant age children even though they now automatically get a free school meal.
“If they don’t apply, not only are they missing out on help with the cost of school uniforms, but their child’s school could also miss out on thousands of pounds of linked Pupil Premium funding from the Government.
“We know many families really benefit from subsidised school clothing and that is why the council continues to fund school clothing grants despite the cuts to our budget, and why I am delighted with the decision taken today to increase those grants – we are fully committed to helping children and families who really need it.
“The application process is so quick and straightforward, please don’t miss out.”
Any parents who are eligible for free school meals because of their financial situation are automatically eligible for the school clothing grants.
However, many miss out by not applying, partly because all parents of children in reception, year 1 and year 2 automatically receive free school meals and assume they don’t need to apply.
Any parents in receipt of income support, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit should formally apply for free school meals through the county council website.
If parents do not apply when they’re entitled to, they will miss out on the school clothing grants and their child’s school could also miss out on a Pupil Premium payment from the government of up to £1,320.
These payments enable schools to provide extra support to pupils to help them achieve their potential.
Applying online for free school meals and school clothing grants is quick and simple – the whole process takes around five minutes.
Once approved, the council will send parents a voucher which they can redeem for cash at the Post Office, giving them the choice of where to buy school clothing.
If you were already receiving free school meals before the COVID-19 outbreak, you do not need to re-apply for free school meals or clothing vouchers.
There is no deadline for free school meal applications they are open all year round.
However, applications for school uniform grants must be submitted between 1 July and 30 April.
You can make an application between 1 May and 30 June, you will receive free school meals immediately, but will not receive uniform grant until 1 July.
If you are unable to apply online, please call 01228 606060 for further details.
Parents can apply online at www.cumbria.gov.uk/uniforms