Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Sharp rise in school uniform grants in Edinburgh

School pupils Image copyright Getty Images

Edinburgh has seen a 32% rise in the number of school uniform grants from the council.

Latest figures show there were 4,339 grants awarded for school clothing in 2018 compared with 3,281 the year before.

Grants have also risen to £100 per pupil - up from £43 for primary pupils and £50 for high school children.

A charity has also reported a big increase in requests for help from parents struggling to afford uniforms.

The Edinburgh School Uniform Bank said it had received 472 applications compared with 233 over the same period last year.

Referrals were made by head teachers and social workers for a variety of reasons including families suffering the effects of domestic violence, low income and benefit problems.

Going without

Julia Grindley, Edinburgh School Uniform Bank trustee, said: "Any child going to school in the 'wrong' clothes is vulnerable to stigma, lack of confidence, social exclusion and poor engagement with school.

"Edinburgh School Uniform Bank seeks to tackle these issues early by providing new school uniform as well as essentials like school bags and stationery.

"Every child and young person deserves the chance to go into school with their heads held high, fitting in with their peers and ready to do their best.

"We need the support of the local community to make sure that every child in Edinburgh has someone buying a new set of school uniform for them. Nobody should have to go without."

The charity is asking local families and businesses to "sponsor a child" by buying a back-to-school set of uniform.

Councillor Alison Dickie, chairwoman of the Edinburgh Child Poverty Group, said the decision to increase the school uniform grant last year from £43 (primary) and £53 (secondary) to £100 across the board was one reason for the increase in the number of grants.

She added: "Other improvements to the scheme have undoubtedly contributed to this increase, such as aligning the clothing grant/free school meals eligibility - resulting in around 500 more children becoming eligible for the clothing grant.

"School uniform clothing grants are just one of many schemes taking place across the city tackling child poverty including the setting up of our Child Poverty Action Group, uniform swap shops, income maximisation advice and free sanitary products."

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