‘School clothing grant policy impacting on poor families’

Pupils are no longer entitled to a school clothing grant once they turn 16
Pupils are no longer entitled to a school clothing grant once they turn 16

Concerns have been raised over the lack of support for poorer families when trying to buy school uniforms for senior pupils.

Currently, parents of students under the age of 16 can apply to their local authority for a school clothing grant.

However, such grants are no longer available to pupils if they turn 16 before September 30.

One angry mum, who asked not to be named, has hit out at the policy, claiming it could be forcing parents who struggle financially to send their child to school without a uniform — or even keep them out of the classroom altogether.

Although applications can be made for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the mother feels that is not enough as these can only be put forward once the new term has started.

She said: “There seems to be no assistance for my daughter now she’s 16 to purchase a uniform to go back to school.

“This is an issue that families may face especially if they don’t have financial assistance from the other parent like me.”

The complainer continued: “My daughter had to move school because she was bullied because we are poor.

“I believe that the poorest families may be experiencing the same issue and forced to send children to school without uniform or just not send them to school.

“The council has said she’s entitled to an EMA but she can’t get it until she starts school in August. I’ve not really got any disposable income and I’m off work due to ill health. There must be more people in this situation.”

A Falkirk Council spokeswoman said: “Our eligibility criteria has not changed.

“School clothing grants are available for children under 16 who live in the Falkirk Council area and attend a local school.

“In common with other local authorities no clothing grant is paid to those young people who are 16 years old by September 30.

“However, they should apply for an EMA by visiting our website www.falkirk.gov.uk/ema.”