Parents and carers are being urged to check their eligibility for help with school costs, as the cost of living continues to put pressure on many families. 

Children of families on lower incomes who receive certain benefits can get up to £200 to help pay for essentials like school uniform, stationery, sports kit and equipment.

Currently, only 88% of those eligible have claimed their free School Essentials Grant. That still leaves thousands of children in Wales whose parents need to claim the money before applications close on 31 May.

There’s still time to check eligibility Get help with school costs | GOV.WALES and apply for this year’s funding now before applications close for this year.

Headteacher of Ysgol Gymunedol Trimsaran, Steffan Jones, explained how the grant helps learners at his school: “You want every child to be treated the same, and you want every child to have the same experiences.

“These grants do help, so that all children can get involved and enjoy their time at school, not just those who can afford it.”

What is the School Essentials Grant?

The School Essentials Grant is a support payment to help cover the cost of essentials needed for school. 

Families on lower incomes who receive certain benefits, those seeking asylum and children in care can claim £125 per child per year to help with school costs in primary and secondary school.

For children going into year 7, there is £200 available in recognition of the extra cost of starting secondary school. 

The grant can be used for:

school uniform, including coats and shoes

school activities, like learning a musical instrument, sports kit and equipment for after school activities

classroom essentials, like pens, pencils and bags

In addition to support paid to a learner’s family, their school or setting will also receive extra funding. This funding is used  to support learners from lower income families, for example by paying for support staff.  This applies to learners in all schools and settings, including special schools and pupil referral units. 

“The best resource we can provide the children is staff, and we do use the grants to fund support staff and just to give them that extra support that they need to succeed,” said Steffan Jones

How do I claim the School Essentials Grant?

Families must register their eligibility for the School Essentials Grant through their local authority and you can apply every year for each of your children. Learners from all kinds of education settings are eligible as long as they are aged 4 (in Reception) to 16.

For a learner to be eligible, their parent must receive one or more of the following:

Income Support 

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 

Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 

Guaranteed element of Pension Credit 

Child Tax Credit (as long as parents do not also get Working Tax Credit and their annual income is £16,190 or less before tax)

Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after parents stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit) 

Universal Credit (as long as the annual net earned household income is less than £7,400, not including benefits) Even if your child already receives a Free School Meal, you still need to check eligibility to access the School Essentials Grant and extra funding for your school. 

How much am I entitled to? 

Families of primary and secondary school learners (if eligible) - £125 per child, per year.

Families of secondary school learners in year 7 (if eligible) - £200 per child, per year.

This school year’s application window closes on Friday, 31 May, 2024. 

Find out if your child is eligible and claim now: