[C]umbria County Council is urging parents of children beginning or returning to school in September to apply for school clothing vouchers and free school meals.
Since 2014, all children in reception and years 1 and 2 have been automatically entitled to free school meals, but many parents miss out on a free school clothing grant provided by the council worth £25 (or £35 for secondary pupils). 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.
Parents may be eligible if they are in receipt of income support, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit. Applying online is quick and simple – the whole process takes around five minutes. Once approved, the council sends parents a voucher which they can redeem for cash at the Post Office, giving them the choice of where to buy school clothing.
Councillor Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said:
“It’s so important that eligible parents continue to apply for free school meals even though all infants now automatically get one. 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.
“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 – we have a commitment to helping children and families who really need it. The application process is so quick and straightforward, don’t miss out!”
Parents can apply online at www.cumbria.gov.uk/uniforms. Paper copies of the application forms are also available – call 01228 606060 for further details.