Parents of children on free school meals offered help with school uniform costs

School uniform

Photograph: Department for Education

Families with children who are eligible for free school meals are entitled to a £150 grant towards a school uniform if their child is starting secondary school.

Islington Council is urging people on low incomes to register for free school meals to avoid missing out on the extra help with uniforms for pupils starting Year 7.

It could help hundreds of families kit their children out. Last year 1,480 children started secondary school in Islington.

Children can also benefit from free activities and food during school holidays if families register for free school meals.

According to government figures 14,942 children, or 37 per cent, were living in households in poverty, after their housing costs have been taken into account.

Estimates vary on the cost of school uniform, and the Schoolwear Association survey of suppliers to a quarter of schools nationally said the average cost is £101.

The Children’s Society survey of 2,000 parents estimated they spent an average of £422 for secondary school uniform and £282 for pupils at primary schools. The higher cost was partly due to buying branded clothes, which some schools require.

This is despite the government insisting that schools should avoid telling parents to buy branded clothes, which can be more expensive.

Some children of secondary school age and those in further education are also entitled to statutory free school meals to help them study without going hungry.

Younger children in Islington are eligible for free school meals if they attend children’s centres and early years centres run by the council, go to North Islington, Margaret McMillan or Kate Greenaway nurseries or are full time at primary school in the borough.

However, parents need to register to ensure their children do not miss out.

The council said the free lunches are worth £400 a year and lunch is developed with a dietician to ensure children get healthy meals.

To register visit here:

Free school meals and uniform grant | Islington Council