02/08/2013

Parents Encouraged To Use School Uniform Grants

Education Minister John O'Dowd has encouraged parents to take advantage of school uniform grants.

The Clothing Allowance Scheme covers pupils in primary, post-primary and special schools and is similar to free school meals with regards to its eligibility criteria.

The Minister said: "We are now into August and parents and pupils will no doubt be planning for the start of the next school year, which may include the purchase of new school uniforms. However, in this time of economic hardship, the cost of buying uniforms can be a struggle for many families.

"Through the Clothing Allowance Scheme, or school uniform grant, as it is also known, my Department provides much needed support to low income families to assist with the costs of school uniforms. The eligibility criteria for clothing allowances are similar to those used for free school meals and seeks to target families who are on benefits or on low incomes."

The Department of Education provides approximately £4.3m per year for families with school uniform costs.

It is estimated that about 75,000 pupils have benefited from the scheme.

"Parents who think they may be eligible should contact their local Education and Library Board who will be able to provide additional information and advice as well as an application form," Mr O'Dowd said.

(IT/MH)

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