Can I get help with school costs?

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Share this article

Q. We are a family on a low income with one child starting grammar school, the uniform is very expensive, can I get any financial help with the uniform or school meals?

A. The Education and Library Boards pay a uniform grant and free school meals to pupils who attend a primary, secondary, grammar or special school. It does not apply to pupils in attendance at nursery schools, nursery units or reception classes. A uniform grant is available to pupils if their parent or guardian gets one of the following:

*Income Support

*income based Jobseeker’s Allowance

*income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

*the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit

*support by the National Asylum support Service (NASS)

*Child Tax Credit and their income is below £16,190 gross

*Working Tax Credit and their income is below £16,190 gross and the pupil was born on or after 2 July 2000.

The level of assistance is as follows:

*primary school - £35.75

*post-primary/special school under 15 - £51

*post-primary/special school over 15 - £56

*post-primary/special school PE - £22

*Only one clothing allowance per pupil will normally be paid during the school year.

The eligibility criteria are similar to those used for free school meals with the addition of the following criteria: If their child has a statement of special educational needs and is designated to require a special diet, or he, or she, is 
a boarder at a special school.

How to apply for grant?

The Education Authority is responsible for the administration of the scheme. Application forms are available by telephoning the EA in your region at the relevant contact number below.

Education Authority Belfast Region – 028 9056 4239 or 028 9056 4240

Education Authority North Eastern Region – 028 2566 2571, 028 2566 2572 or 028 2566 2573

Education Authority South Eastern Region – 028 9056 6319

Education Authority Southern Region – 028 3751 2523

Education Authority Western Region – 028 8241 1496

It is advisable to apply as soon as you become eligible.

Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice at or for further information go to