I’m worried about my child going back to school as I am struggling with money and don’t know how I’m going to afford a school uniform and school meals. Is there any support available to help with this?

School Clothing Grant

With schools returning from the summer holidays, many parents are worried about the costs associated with sending their children back to school.

For those struggling to pay for school uniforms, there is additional support available in the form of the School Clothing Grant. The grant provides eligible parents or guardians with at least £120 per child for the 2023/2024 school year.

Applications for most councils are open from July until the end of March the following year and most payments are typically made before the new school year starts in August, but this can vary between councils.

Am I Eligible?

Eligibility can vary depending on which local authority you are located in, but typically, you can apply for a grant if you or your family receive any of the following.

If you receive Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction, Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), or any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You may also be eligible if you receive Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, and your annual income is less than £18,725.

If you receive both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and have an income between £8,717 and £18,725 you may be entitled to the payment.

Lastly, if you receive Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £726, you may be eligible to receive additional support.

The amount you will receive may vary depending on which council area you are in.

School Meals

There is also support available to parents struggling to afford school meals.

Children at local council schools can get free school meals during term time in primary 1 to 5. This is available to all children regardless of their family’s financial circumstances.

Children in above primary 5 may also receive free school meals, depending on the financial situation of their parents or carers and which other benefits they receive.You can check if you’re eligible via the council website for your local authority.

If you qualify to receive free school meals, you may also be able to receive help towards meals during the school holidays.

You will need to receive one of the qualifying benefits to be eligible and can apply as soon as you begin receiving one of these benefits, even if this happens during the school holidays. You do not need to wait until the school term starts again to apply.

Best Start Grant School Age Payment

The Scottish Government also offer the Best Start Grant School Age Payment.

The new £252.50 payment can be used to help towards costs of preparing for school.

Eligibility is based on the age of the child. The application window is from June of the year the child is old enough to start school until February the following year.

Parents and carers of children who defer starting school until the following year should still apply during this window.

Further details can be found on

Further Support

If you require assistance in making applications for benefits, the team at can help. The service, run by Advice Direct Scotland, offers advice and information in a range of areas, including benefits, and can assist with completing application forms.

The team are available on 0808 800 9060, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

You can access free, impartial advice on any topic from by contacting 0808 800 9060 or by visiting Advice is available to everyone in Scotland, at no cost, regardless of personal circumstance.