Are you worried about Back-to-School expense?
As children return to school, many families will be faced with the sudden expense of essential items like new shoes, uniforms or equipment.
Children go through rapid growth spurts which means that following many months locked down at home, their shoes and uniforms may no longer fit.
Some schools may exercise a lenient attitude to uniforms under the current circumstances – but the Welsh Government is encouraging all schools to return to their usual uniform policies as it says it plays a valuable role in setting an appropriate tone and ethos.
The average annual cost of a secondary school uniform in the UK is £340 and primary school uniform at £255. This is a significant expense, particularly if you’ve been affected by job losses, furlough or a reduction in income.
If you’re on a low income in Wales, you could get financial support from the Welsh Government’s Pupil Development Grant.
This awards £125 for uniforms, equipment and sports kit. For pupils in Year 7 the grant is £200 because it recognised the increased costs with starting a secondary school.
The grant is available to looked-after children and learners eligible for free school meals to help with the cost of school uniform, sports kit, school equipment and IT equipment.
If you’re not eligible then there are ways of cutting the costs:
- Use local social media selling groups where parents swap school uniforms if they’re in a good condition.
- If you have more than one child, then hang on to old uniforms and pass them down to younger siblings.
- Buy uniforms a bit larger than you think you need because children grow very quickly, and you can always take up the hems of trousers and bring them down again.
- Make use of coupons, promotions and always shop around for textbooks or technology.
In the long term you may want to consider opening a savings account so you can manage your finances better in the future.
As social enterprises with no external shareholders, credit unions are able to offer small loans to help cover the cost of school uniforms at very competitive rates of interest.
Find your nearest credit union.