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Applications for Education Maintenance Allowance, Free School Meals and School Clothing Grants for the new academic year now online

West Lothian School pupils who are eligible for extra help with the costs of uniforms, lunches and staying on at school can now submit an online application to ensure they will receive their entitlement at the start of the new academic school year from 12 August.

20 July
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Online applications for the academic year 2020/2021 are now open via the West Lothian Council website for those pupils who are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and Free School Meals/School Clothing Grants.

Free School Meals, School Clothing Grants and Milk

If you've already received a School Clothing Grant payment from 22 May 2020 onwards, you have already received your entitlement for 2020/21 and do not need to apply, unless you have a child attending Primary 1 upwards in West Lothian for the first time from 12 August 2020. 

Families on low incomes may be eligible to receive free school meals and milk for their children. There are also grants available to help towards the cost of school clothing.

In the academic year 2019/20, 10,910 pupils in West Lothian benefitted from Free School Meals and 6,740 pupils were awarded a School Clothing Grant.

A payment of £125 could be provided to help parents/carers with the costs of school uniforms for primary school pupils and £135 for secondary school pupils up to the age of 16.

Families in receipt of the following will be eligible for a School Clothing Grant:

  • Income Support / Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Any Income-Related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit with an annual income of £16,105 or less
  • Universal Credit where "take-home pay" does not exceed £1,342
  • Council Tax Reduction

Families in receipt of the following will be eligible for Free School Meals & Milk:

  • Income Support / Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Any Income-Related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax credit (but not Working Tax Credit) with an annual income of £16,105 or less
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an annual income of £7,330 or less
  • Universal Credit where "take-home pay" does not exceed £610

If your child is of nursery age and attends one of our early learning and childcare establishments for full day provision, and you are eligible for free school meals, a lunch will be provided on the days your child attends. Clothing grants are not paid to children attending early learning and childcare.

All children in primary 1, 2 and 3 will receive free school lunches through universal entitlement, regardless of financial circumstances, however families who are in receipt of the above benefits should complete an application to ensure their child receives free milk and a clothing grant.

Free school meals are provided to all pupils who attend the following Additional Support Needs (ASN) schools: Beatlie School Campus, Cedarbank School, Pinewood School, Connolly School Campus and Ogilvie School Campus. Pupils attending any of West Lothian's autism resources will also receive free school meals.

You may need to send us evidence of your benefits to support your application. Any Tax Credit Award Notices should show a confirmed income for 2019/2020.

Applications for school pupils can be made by completing an online application via the West Lothian Council website. Visit the West Lothian Council website for further information or to complete your online application

Education Maintenance Allowance

EMA is an allowance of £30 per week, depending on household income. Household income is assessed in the same way as for Tax Credits provided by HM Revenue & Customs. Students on Activity Agreements (HYPE agreements), are Home Educated or estranged from parents or in care of the authority can also be paid.

If the applying student is the only dependent child in the household - taxable income must not exceed £24,421, or if there is more than one dependent child in the household - taxable income must not exceed £26,884.

A student must be born between 01 March 2001 and 28 February 2005 to be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance from West Lothian Council.

  • Students born between 01 March 2001 and 30 September 2004 can be paid from the start of the academic term on 12 August 2020. Applications must be submitted by 30 September 2020
  • Students born between 01 October 2004 and 28 February 2005 can be paid from 04 January 2021. Applications must be submitted 28 February 2021

Application forms which do not arrive by the deadlines can only be paid from the week in which the application is received. The closing date for application forms is 30 March 2021. No application will be accepted after this date.

Applications are being accepted now and you'll need to complete both the online application form and a learning agreement.

The application form can be completed by either the student or their parent/guardian, and includes an eligibility checker at the start.

Further information and links to submit an online application can be found on the West Lothian Council website.

If you are having any issues with our online form please do not hesitate to contact us by email at EducationBenefits@westlothian.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can speak to staff in your child's school office for assistance.

Executive councillor for education, David Dodds said: " West Lothian Council remains committed to addressing inequalities and providing for our pupils. This has never been more important than in recent times times as society deals with the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important that we continue to work to ensure that no child is left behind and we must make sure that our vulnerable pupils are given every chance. We would encourage anyone who has children at school to find out whether they are eligible to apply for support and to then make sure they complete their online submission so they can receive the appropriate support in the new academic year starting in August."

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