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Advice Column – June

School Uniform Advice Column

The school holidays are about to begin and as a parent I’m already dreading
September. School costs can quickly mount up – uniform, transport, trips and
probably more I haven’t even thought of yet – I’m really worried I won’t have enough
money to cover it all. How will I manage?

School costs can seem overwhelming, but if you’re on a low income your local council might
help you with some of the expense.

As any parent knows there are a multitude of opportunities and requirements that go hand-in-hand with school and many come with a price tag. For that reason there is support
available when it comes to paying for school uniforms, trips and essential equipment. Some
extra curricular clubs such as music might also have funding available. You can find what
your local council offers here

When it comes to uniform, schools have a responsibility to make sure they are affordable. A
good starting point is the school website which will have the uniform policy, as well as how to
find second-hand items.

Some schools will require branded items but these must be kept to a minimum in line with
government guidance on affordability, available at If you are worried you still
can’t afford the required uniform you should speak to someone in the school office who
might be able to help.

In terms of food, children in infant school – reception, year one and year two – automatically
get free school meals. If your child is in junior school – years three to six – you can apply for
free school meals if you get certain benefits. Currently all primary school children in London
get free school meals automatically.*

In some cases free transport is available. If your child is aged five to 16 your local council
might help with free or lower-cost transport if you don’t live near school or your child’s unable
to walk there. And for older children in a sixth form or training as an apprentice, there may
also be support available. You’ll need to ask your local council if they can help.Unfortunately
we can’t help with homework, but there is more information on financial support that’s
available for school costs and general budgeting advice on the Citizens Advice website –

*Not applicable in Wales