One in three children in Dundee currently receive a grant for school uniform – and that figure is expected to rise.
Dundee City Council issued 6,165 school uniform grants from the start of the academic year to date, which is around 34% of the 18,000 pupils in the city’s schools.
By comparison, Perth and Kinross Council has issued uniform grants to 12% of pupils at its schools this academic year, that’s 1,974 of the 17,000 pupils there.
And Angus Council has issued uniform grants to 17% of its pupils over the same period – approving funds to 2,628 of the 15,263 pupils there.
It is the second year in a row that uniform grant applications have been so widely distributed in Dundee and the council expects the number to rise further, due to hardship brought on by the pandemic.
Councillor Stewart Hunter, the city’s children and families services convener, said: “In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to but there are a number of families in the city who are unable to earn money to pay for school uniform without a grant.
“The key thing to us is to be able to provide that support. We recognise that clothes for schools are not cheap and continually work to make then more affordable.”
Help for struggling parents
The councils works with clothing suppliers to make uniforms cheaper, as well as local supermarkets and special projects within schools.
This includes parents handing uniform clothing into school when their child has outgrown them, which the council washes and then discreetly distributes to other families.
Councillor Hunter added: “This year has been particularly challenging with the impact of the pandemic on the economy, people on furlough and all the other difficulties Covid-19 has brought.
“There will be more families who need financial support this year than ever, some who have never needed it before then all of a sudden find they need it, even if it’s just for a year to get to the other side of Covid-19.
“If anyone does have any issues please, please get in touch with the school or with the council directly – we want to do everything we can to support you and it will be done in an extremely discreet manner.”
In 2016 Dundee City Council was the first local authority to raise the grant to £100 per child, having previously offered just £38 in help for struggling parents.
The following year the Scottish Government followed suit and set the grant at £100 per child, per school year.
For more information on Dundee City Council’s school uniform grant or to see if you qualify, check the council’s website.