Help with School Costs

My oldest child has started school and, with
uniforms and PE kits, the costs are mounting.

The school we got into isn’t
within walking distance so I now need to budget for bus money five days a
week too. We’re already pretty stretched – is there any extra help I can get?

On the Citizens Advice website, we have lots of information on the support you might
be entitled to for school-related costs.

If you’re claiming benefits it’s worth checking if
you can get extra help for things like school lunches, transport and uniforms.
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 automatically get free school meals. For
older children, you can apply for free school meals if you claim certain types of
benefits. The full list is available on the Citizens Advice website, and includes
Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit and Income Support.

For transport costs, your local education authority might be able to offer free or
discounted transport if you’re not able to walk to the school. Contact them directly to
find out how they can support you.

Your local education authority might also help you with activity and school uniform
costs, if you’re on a low income. You’re probably considered to be on a low income if
you get means-tested benefits like Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. There are
also some local charitable schemes that can help – check with your school, as they
will usually know what is available in your area. Schools can sometimes also advise
on finding cheap or free second-hand uniforms.

If your child is disabled or has a health condition, you can also claim Disability Living
Allowance (this isn’t means-tested).

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens
Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing,
employment or any other problems. South Lakes Citizens Advice, your local
charity, is here for you. How to access:
 Call 015394 46464 – this is being staffed from 9:30 – 2pm
 Adviceline: 0808 2787 984
 email advice via our submission page on our website
 Help to Claim (Universal Support): 0800 144 8 444