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Help towards the cost of school

West Lothian pupils living in a low income household could be entitled to extra help with the costs of uniforms, lunches and staying on at school.

15 July
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Help is available for parents towards the cost of a school uniform, through West Lothian Council's School Clothing Grant scheme with over 6,240 pupils awarded grants in the last year.

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.

To qualify for a school clothing grant and free school meals, parents/carers must be in receipt of 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 £6,900 or less or Universal Credit where "take-home pay" does not exceed £610.

Families in receipt of Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit with an annual income of £16,105 or less or, Universal Credit where "take-home pay" does not exceed £1,342 will be eligible for a Clothing Grant only.

All children in primary 1, 2 and 3 will receive free school lunches, 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.

Applications can be completed online..

Anyone who thinks that they may qualify for a School Clothing Grant can contact West Lothian Advice Shop on 01506 283000 (and select option 4) for further information and details on how to apply. Alternatively contact your child's school for information or email.

The council also provides a free breakfast to all pupils in primary schools who want it.  Breakfast is also free to those entitled to free school meals in secondary schools. Please contact your child's school direct for further details of the breakfast club times.  In Secondary Schools pupils entitled to free school meals will have a breakfast provision allowance included on their National Entitlement Card (NEC)/Young Scot Card. All other secondary pupils can purchase the same breakfast for 57p.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) of £30 per week is also available to help students to stay on at school, and is payable depending on the household income which is assessed in the same way as for Tax Credits provided by HM Revenue & Customs. Students estranged from parents or in care of West Lothian Council 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.

Applications are being accepted now. A student must be born between 01 March 2000 and 29 February 2004 to be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance from West Lothian Council.

  • Students born between 01 March 2000 and 30 September 2003 can start payment from week beginning 19 August 2019. The form must arrive at the Civic Centre by 30 September 2019.
  • Students born between 01 October 2003 and 29 February 2004 may start payment from 06 January 2020. The form must arrive at the Civic Centre by 29 February 2020.

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 31 March 2020. No application will be accepted after this date.

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.

Executive councillor for education, David Dodds said: "West Lothian Council is committed to promoting equality for people in West Lothian and improving the quality of life for local people. Through work with our community planning partners we have developed an anti-poverty strategy which looks to address the issue of lack of finance getting in the way of a child's education. Providing clothing grants, free school meals and Education Maintenance Allowance is one of the ways in which we support families with low income or receiving certain benefits. We would encourage who has children at school to find out whether they are eligible to apply for support."

Further information on is available elsewhere on the West Lothian Council Website.

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