School uniform grant to increase by 20% in Northern Ireland

A grant to help families pay for school uniforms is to be increased by 20%, the Northern Ireland Education Minister has announced.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -  14th June 2021 - 

Minister Michelle McIlveen. 

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th June 2021 - Minister Michelle McIlveen. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Michelle McIlveen announced an extra £1.04 million has been set aside by her department to meet the extra cost.

Families entitled to the grant will see the amount allocated for a primary school uniform increased from £35.75 to £42.90.

For older pupils, the amount increases from between £51 to £56 depending on age to a sum between £61.20 to £67.20. PE uniform grants are also set to go up from £22 to £26.40.

The Minister said: “The cost of purchasing school uniforms can place significant financial strain on low income families. My department is currently undertaking a review of free school meals and the uniform grant. In the interim, in light of the cost of living crisis, I am allocating an additional £1.04 million to increase the uniform grant available this year to provide additional support to parents.”

Ms McIlveen added: “I appeal to all schools to be mindful of families across Northern Ireland who are struggling financially, and the additional burden purchasing school uniforms can place on household budgets. Every effort should be made to ensure school uniforms are as affordable as possible, in line with my department’s guidance on this issue.”

The increase will be in effect for the coming academic year, 2022/23.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan, meanwhile, welcomed the move but said more is needed: “The modest increase in support announced today is welcome but it simply won’t go far enough.

“We already lag behind the rest of these islands when it comes to support offered.”