School uniform grant increased by 20 per cent to help support low income families
THE school uniform grant is to be increased by 20 per cent to help support low income families.
Announcing the £1 million investment, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said it was designed to assist with the "significant financial strain" caused by school uniforms costs.
The allowance helps towards the cost of specific items of school uniforms and PE clothing for pupils at primary, post-primary and day pupils at special schools.
The uniform grant will be increased by 20 per cent for all applications for the 22/23 academic year.
Ms McIlveen said: "The cost of purchasing school uniforms can place significant financial strain on low income families. My department is currently undertaking a review of free school meals and the uniform grant.
"In the interim, in light of the cost of living crisis, I am allocating an additional £1.04 million to increase the uniform grant available this year to provide additional support to parents.
"I appeal to all schools to be mindful of families across Northern Ireland who are struggling financially, and the additional burden purchasing school uniforms can place on household budgets.
"Every effort should be made to ensure school uniforms are as affordable as possible, in line with my department’s guidance on this issue."
SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan said the "modest increase in support announced is welcome, but it simply won’t go far enough" adding that "in the midst of the worst costs crisis for decades many families, not just those on low incomes, will find it impossible to find the large sums necessary to purchase new uniforms for their children".
Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan said "much more needs to be done to support families with rising uniform costs".