Keeping the cost of school uniform down

Starting a new school can be expensive, not to mention having to deal with the cost of lost or damaged clothing and branded school bags. A range of deals can be found at most supermarkets and most parents make a supermarket their preferred choice to buy school uniform.

Social media and online second-hand sites

Facebook selling groups and other online 'buy and sell' sites can be a great way to grab a school uniform bargain; there are groups in every area, and they can be a great way to get rid of outgrown clothes or buy them more cheaply. Getting your child's uniform second-hand is also much better for the environment. Some online sites might be better for the more generic items, like grey, black or navy trousers and shorts, while others can have branded school uniform items available, like jumpers and book bags.

Sites to look at include: 
• Local 'buy and sell' sites, hosted on social media platforms such as Facebook, as well as Facebook pages set up for parents of children at individual schools.

It is also worth contacting the school or nursery in advance to see if they have a process where you can purchase second-hand school uniform and other school personalised items such as a school bag or PE kit bag.

Vouchers and Grants

Contact the local authority if you live in and ask if they offer vouchers or grants to help with the purchase of school uniform. In some cases, you will need to be registered as using the 'Free School Meals Services', but not in all areas.

You can see if you are eligible by adding your postcode and if your local authority has information on how it can help with cost of school uniform by looking at the Education Authority website.

A uniform grant can pay:
• £35.75 for a primary school pupil
• £51 for a post-primary/special school pupil under 15 years old
• £56 for a post-primary/special school pupil over 15 years old
• £22 for a post-primary/special school pupil physical education kit

A school pupil can usually only get one clothing allowance during the school year.

Clothing Allowance Scheme

The Clothing Allowance Scheme covers pupils in primary, post-primary and special schools.

There are no uniform grants for children at:
• Nursery schools
• Nursery units
• Reception classes

Human Rights

Schools must consider the needs of different cultures, races and religions. They must always act reasonable and sensibly towards religious requirements, providing they do not pose a threat to security, safety and learning, or compromise the well-being of the school community.

Schools must not discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or belief.

How to apply for school transport

Parents can apply online for help with home to school transport. After parents have filled in the online application, they will receive an assessment that shows if their child/children are able to get help with home to school transport. Apply on the Education Authority website.