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06 July 2016

Don’t miss out on school clothing vouchers and free school meals!

school uniform 


Since 2014, all children in reception and years 1 and 2 have been automatically entitled to free school meals, but many parents miss out on a free school clothing grant provided by the council worth £25 (or £35 for secondary pupils). Their child’s school could also miss out on a Pupil Premium payment from the government of up to £1,320. These payments enable schools to provide extra support to pupils to help them achieve their potential.

Parents may be eligible if they are in receipt of income support, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit.  Applying online is quick and simple - the whole process takes around five minutes. Once approved, the council sends parents a voucher which they can redeem for cash at the Post Office, giving them the choice of where to buy school clothing.

Councillor Clare Feeney-Johnson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said:

“It’s so important that eligible parents continue to apply for free school meals even though all infants now automatically get one. If they don’t apply, not only are they missing out on help with the cost of school uniforms, but their child’s school could also miss out on thousands of pounds.

“We understand that many families benefit from subsidised school clothing and that is why the council continues to fund school clothing grants despite the cuts to our budget - we have a commitment to helping children and families who really need it. The application process is so quick and straightforward, don’t miss out!”

Parents can apply online at www.cumbria.gov.uk/uniforms. Paper copies of the application forms are also available.



Free school meals and clothing vouchers are available to children if parents are receiving one of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Income Support (IS);

  • Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA);

  • An income-related Employment and Support Allowance;

  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999;

  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that as of April 2012 does not exceed £16,190. Note: From 1st May 2009 where you are entitled to Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after your employment ceases, or after you start to work less than 16 hours per week, your children are entitled to Free School Meals, this may be extended.

  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit;

  • Universal Credit


School clothing grants are provided to primary and secondary pupils who are eligible to receive free school meals. Grants of £25 per primary school pupil and £35 per secondary school pupil are available. The council sends parents a voucher which they redeem for cash at the Post Office, giving them the choice of where to get buy the school clothes for their children.

Cumbria County Council is urging parents of children beginning or returning to school in September to apply for school clothing vouchers and free school meals.