Online tool to help with school uniform costs – check now

Cost of Living Crisis: Bristol resident trying to be 'more frugal'

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Financial help is available to support families struggling to pay for their children’s uniform, with many councils providing a support service. The Government website has a tool to help people find out what assistance is available where they live.

The tool works by a person putting in their postcode, and then it will advise which local council to contact to find out more.

If a council does not offer support, people can approach their child’s school directly to ask what help is available.

New Government guidance is coming in to require schools to help minimise the cost of uniform.

The new rules will require schools to keep the use of more expensive, branded clothing to a minimum.

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Parents will be encouraged to get their items from supermarkets, or to use second-hand clothing.

Schools will also be required to find the cheapest suppliers, helping to keep costs low for struggling families.

The new laws are being brought in as part of the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021, which has been backed unanimously in Parliament.

The new rules could cut the average cost of uniforms by £50, the Department for Education has said.

The average family spends £337 on uniform for each child for the new school year, according to The Children’s Society.

Katherine Parr, a mum-of-five from Ormskirk, welcomed the new rules, warned that there has been an increase in demand for branded items from some schools.

She told Lancs Live: “I dislike the increase in the demand for logo items from schools, it makes it harder to use cheaper options like supermarket supplies.

“I think we’re lucky in Ormskirk in that several schools have followed the lead of Ormskirk C of E Primary School and have uniform shops selling second-hand uniforms, mostly pay as you can; profits from sales fund school supplies.”

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She said that uniform swap shops are increasingly needed to help struggling families cut their costs.

She said: “I see it from a skint parent’s point of view. My kids don’t have logo polo tops for school – I’m not paying £10 for one when I can pay £3.50, or less, for ones without a logo.”

The Children’s Society has said that schools must implement the new guidance before the new school year starts.

The group said in a statement on its website: “The new law promises change for the many parents kept up at night worrying how they’ll afford their child’s uniform.

“But it’s up to schools to deliver on this promise. Schools should be ambitious about what they can make happen.

“Schools are seeing first-hand the cost of living crisis. Rising inflation and soaring energy costs are hitting families hard.

“Too many children are growing up without the basics they need. Almost one in three children are growing up in poverty, and millions more families are living on the edge.

“This makes it more likely a child will struggle in school and not achieve their full potential. A uniform shows what a school stands for. Shouldn’t it stand for a fair chance for every child?”

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