PARENTS struggling with the cost of living can get up to £300 free cash to help pay for school uniforms.
Many local councils provide families with grants to cover the cost of skirts, trousers and more.
But what you are entitled to depends on where you live, whether that be Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or England.
That said, help is usually offered to families on a low-income or benefits.
The grants go by different names. For example in Scotland it's known as the school clothing grant while in England it's called the school uniform grant.
Schemes open at different times as well, so it's always worth checking with your local council whether you can apply for help.
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If you don't know what council area you fall under, you can use the Government's council locator tool on its website.
Either way, The Sun approached local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland to find out what they are offering currently and for the 2023/24 academic year.
All Welsh authorities are providing grants and in Scotland and England it depends on where you live,
The scheme for pupils in Northern Ireland isn't open yet but residents there can check the Education Authority's website, eani.org.uk, which will tell you when the grant becomes available.
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What can I get if I live in Wales?
All local authorities in Wales are offering "school essentials" grants worth up to £300 per pupil for the current academic year.
They are available to families on a low income and certain benefits including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Child Tax Credit.
The 2022/23 scheme is still live but closes on June 30, so you have just a few weeks left to claim any help for this year.
Under this scheme, each eligible child gets at least £225 and those heading into secondary school get £300.
The Welsh Government upped the payments by £100 to offer extra help to families struggling with higher bills.
The above amount includes an extra payment of £100 for this year only.
A Wales Government spokesperson said the scheme for 2023/24 will open on July 1.
From that date, each eligible child will get a minimum of £125 while those heading into secondary school will get £200.
You can apply for either year on the Wales Government's website.
What can I get if I live in England?
In comparison to Wales, there's not a blanket grant available to all pupils across England.
Many local authorities don't offer residents direct grants to help with the cost of uniforms, although some do.
For example, Islington Council, in London, is offering grants worth £150 to pupils transferring from primary to secondary school and on free school meals. You can apply via its website.
Meanwhile, Nottingham City Council is offering different amounts depending on the child's school year.
Reception-aged pupils can get £15 to cover the cost of clothes while Year 9's can get £30.
You can apply by downloading a form found on the council's website.
In both cases, you will need to be on qualifying benefits to receive the help.
Meanwhile, Haringey Council is offering residents £60 to help towards the cost of school uniforms for the 2023/24 academic year.
But you can only get the cash if your child was born between September 1, 2011, and August 31, 2012 and they are transferring to secondary school this September.
Plus, Hammersmith and Fulham Council is offering grants worth up to £79 to families who qualify for free school meals.
Those with children aged four or seven before 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's websites.
In Tower Hamlets, families can get £110 for each child heading into the 2023/24 academic year.
You can apply via the council's website, but only have until September 30.
Meanwhile, Hackney Council is offering £100 grants to families and you can apply on its website.
In both areas, again, you will have to be on certain benefits to qualify for the help.
Local councils in England set their own criteria for uniform grants meaning what is available and when to apply varies depending on where you live.
It might mean you can still get help for the current academic year too.
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?
A number of councils in Scotland offer grants to families to help cover the costs of uniform.
But, like in England, the amounts vary based on where you live.
For example, Shetland Islands Council is offering grants worth up to £225 depending on the age of the child for the 2023/24 academic year.
Meanwhile, Fife Council is offering families £170 for each primary school-aged child and £200 for every secondary school-aged pupil.
In both these areas, residents will need to be on certain benefits to qualify, including Income Support and Universal Credit.
You can apply for the grants via your local council's website.
The Scotland Government's website says most local authorities accept applications between July and the end of March every year.
So you might have to wait a bit until you can apply for the 2023/24 academic year.
The grants are also usually paid in July or August before the new school year starts, but this varies depending on the local authority.
In any case, you should check with your local council what support is on offer.
Extra help with school uniform costs
If you can't get targeted help from your council, you might have some other options available to you.
In some areas you can talk directly to your school who might be able to offer you clothing.
Or, you might be able to get cheap garments from low-budget shops or charity stores.
Some charities offer help to families in need too.
For example, in Camden, London, residents can apply for help through the St Pancras Welfare Trust, Glasspool or London Ragamuffins.
But bear in mind charities often have a limited amount of money to give and usually have specific criteria which must be met in order to get a grant.
Charity Turn2Us has a free grants search tool on its website which you can use to find out what help is available to you.
Meanwhile, you can always try approaching your nearest Citizens' Advice branch.
If you don't know where your nearest Citizens' Advice branch is, you can use the branch locator on its website.
If you're not eligible for a school uniform grant you might be able to get help through the Household Support Fund.
The fund is worth £842million and being distributed by councils in England.
But each local authority has been given a unique share of the pot meaning what you can get depends on where you live.
The money is being shared between households in different ways, either through vouchers or cash payments.
While the help isn't always specifically allocated to spend on school uniforms, you can use it towards that if you want.
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To apply you'll have to contact your local council.
If you don't know which one you fall under you can use the Government's council locator tool online.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
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