A staff member at a Dundee primary school has spoken of the merits of clothing grants available to families in the city.
Jane Allen, school and family development worker at Ardler Primary School, has been helping families apply for the £100 School Clothing Grant, which helps parents and children to buy the uniform they need (see video below).
The grant was introduced by the Dundee City Council last year.
Previously, school clothing grants varied from £50 to £110, depending on where families lived.
Now, all eligible families, regardless of their local authority area, have access to the same financial support for school clothing.
Jane said: “It’s about maximising their income and ensuring they’re getting all the benefits that they’re entitled to.
“The good thing about the clothing grant is that it’s £100, it goes straight into the bank account, and families can choose to use it how they want for school uniforms.”
Jane said the grants are heavily promoted by the school, but she provides any support families need in gaining the grant they are entitled to, such as help with paperwork.
She said: “I helped out a family in the school, they had a barrier to filling out the form so they came into the school and I showed them how to do it.
“The family received the clothing grant and they were then able to go out and buy school clothing for all their children.
“It was nice to see the children with their new school uniform on, their new shoes, they were cosy because they had a jumper on, they had a coat, so it was nice to see.
“The children are always really proud on the first day of school because they have their uniform on.”
The standard £100 grant was brought in following a longstanding campaign with One Parent Families Scotland, the Poverty Truth Commission and other organisations.
CPAG in Scotland will review the grant every two years to ensure that the amount available remains in line with cost of living.
John Dickie, director of the CPAG in Scotland, previously said: “This is great news for the thousands of families who struggle to meet the costs of school clothing on top of all the other essentials they need to budget for.
“£100 is now the absolute minimum grant that must be offered to families struggling on low incomes.
“Grants are already higher in some areas, and the actual cost of kitting out a child for school was recently calculated as £129.50.
“But the £100 minimum provides a very welcome basic level of consistent support for parents, wherever they live in Scotland.”
The grant is part of a wider scheme addressing the cost of the school day.
A CPAG spokesman said: “Families living on low incomes often struggle with the cost of the school day.
“Uniforms, trips, school lunches, gym kits, pencils and pens, dress down days, amongst other costs, can be difficult or impossible to afford.
“Missing out on opportunities because of financial barriers and feeling different makes it harder for children and young people to learn, achieve and be happy at school.
“Increasing numbers of families across Scotland are struggling financially. More than one in four (260,000) children are currently living in poverty and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) forecasts an increase of more than 50% in the proportion of children living in poverty in the UK by 2020/21.
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“Poverty has a ferocious and long-lasting effect on children’s health, wellbeing and educational attainment.
“Mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing are essential for successful learning.
“However, food insecurity, housing problems and financial stress and worry all contribute to poorer health outcomes and children from low income households are more likely to report feeling useless and hopeless about their future.
“In terms of qualifications, there remains a significant and persistent gap in attainment between children from lower and higher income families.
“Since attainment at school is so strongly linked to future employment prospects, education can represent a route out of poverty for many young people.
“However coming from a low income household can affect how children access that education.”