School Uniform Scholarship: Are You Eligible?

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The government has introduced a new law to cut the cost of uniforms as schools reopen in September, but as the cost of living drives up prices, some parents are still struggling to make ends meet.

Under the new rules, schools in England must ensure that the cost of school uniforms is “reasonable” by removing “unnecessary” branded items and allowing children to wear high street uniforms such as supermarket brand uniforms.

The Ministry of Education has also made it mandatory for schools to ensure that second-hand uniforms are available to parents.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said the law change will “make uniforms much more affordable for families by lowering costs”.

“School uniform gives a sense of identity and community to children and young people, and should be a real source of pride. But it should never be a burden for parents or a barrier for students to access education,” he said.

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However, two major loopholes mean that some parents have not been able to take advantage of the change.

While schools are “expected” to take steps to change the unified guidelines by September 2022, the government said they have until December 2022 to sign a new contract with a unified supplier.

This means that many parents should still be looking for the old brand uniform in September.

In addition, the law change will not ban all branded items, meaning schools can still require children to wear certain items with their logo, such as a school blazer.

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A study by The Schoolwear Association found that the average cost of school uniforms per child in 2021 was £93.

Reena Sewraz, a money expert at Which? noted: “School uniforms are a significant cost – especially if you have more than one child – and with the household budget strained by the cost of living crisis, many parents will be looking for ways to cut costs.

“It pays to look for second-hand uniforms through your child’s parents’ association. If you buy items in multipacks, check individual prices to make sure it’s a real bargain. There are a lot of good deals and offers on uniforms at the moment, so shop around to find the best prices.”

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We’ve put together a list of helpful tips to help you save money on uniforms.

Check if you are eligible for a scholarship

Some parents may be eligible for a grant to pay for school uniforms and gym clothes. Eligibility criteria and amount available vary in areas across the country and are determined by the municipality

Some municipalities only support people at risk of becoming homeless, living in shelters, or victims of fire or flooding.

Other councils offer support to parents with a low annual income or income support or unemployment benefits.

You can check your local region eligibility criteria here.

Use labels

Use labels to avoid losing labels

(Getty images)

A common complaint among parents of school-aged children is the number of uniform items that are lost or misplaced.

Some parents may want to purchase iron-on labels for their children’s items. While this may seem like an extra cost, they can be purchased in multipacks and help reduce the number of missing items.

size up

You can pull the hem down as your child grows

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Since most kids go through a growth spurt during puberty, you may feel like you’ve wasted your money on a uniform that will soon be too small.

Experts recommend going one or two sizes larger for items like blazers and pants. Kids often get away with a blazer that’s a bit large, especially if a shirt and sweater are worn underneath.

Long pants can also be pulled up to fit your child, and the hem can be released later as they get bigger.

Some supermarkets have designed ranges for this. Marks & Spencer sells trousers with a ‘growth resistant hem’ that are extra long. The hem can be easily removed by loosening it and pressing it with an iron.

Don’t be afraid to buy second hand

Experts at consumer rights company Which? recommend that parents check if their school’s PTA has a used sales group. A parent told Which? their school hosted an event where uniform items were sold 25 percent off the retail price.

If your school doesn’t have one of these events, you can check to see if parents in your area are selling old items in apps like Facebook Marketplace.

Search for offers

As September approaches, many retailers are offering deals and discounts on school uniforms. Aldi sells a pleated skirt for girls for just £1.75, while Tesco is selling multipacks of three easy-iron shirts for £5.50.

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