School uniform grants

School uniform grants will rise to £100 after summer holidays

The school clothing grant will now have a minimum level of £100 in West Dunbartonshire and South Argyll, starting after the summer holidays  in time for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Scottish government said that about 120,000 families would benefit, with eligibility decided at a local level.

Annual costs for the change will be about £12m, with costs split between government and individual councils.

Until now it was up to councils to determine how much the grant was worth, with some offering as little as £20.

BBC Scotland education correspondent Jamie MacIvor reported that the government had said the amount would be reviewed every two years to ensure that it remained in line with the cost of living.

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “Every child in Scotland should be able to attend school feeling comfortable, confident and ready to learn.

“We know that school uniforms can be a considerable cost for families which is why we have worked in partnership with Cosla to introduce a new national minimum school clothing grant.

“It will help relieve pressure on families, reduce costs of living and remove the stress and stigma which can often be associated with struggling to afford essential school items.”

Stephen McCabe, Cosla’s spokesperson for children and young people, described the announcement as a “step in the right direction”.

He said: “Access to decent clothing is an important part of ensuring children have the best chance of getting the most from their education.

“Therefore it is only right that we do the best we can to create as much of a level playing field as we can in terms of school uniform.”

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said the announcement was “great news” for families already struggling to pay for essentials.

He said: “£100 is now the absolute minimum grant that must be offered to families struggling on low incomes.

“Grants are already higher in some areas, and the actual cost of kitting out a child for school was recently calculated as £129.50.

“But this new £100 minimum provides a very welcome basic level of consistent support for parents, wherever they live in Scotland.”

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