Money Wellness
Illustration of a mum and two young children wearing school uniforms
category iconmoney saver
calendar icon18 Jun 2024

Savvy parents buy school uniforms in June

September might seem like a lifetime away, but it’ll be here before we know it. The start of the school year brings with it the added expense of kitting out your kids in new uniforms.

School essentials quickly add up, with the average family spending just short of £250 per child on uniforms and necessary accessories last year, according to a survey by shoe retailer Wynsors. While for many it’s a cost they could do without, for others – especially those living with negative income – it’s money they just don’t have.

But there is help available for those who are struggling. And even if you’re not, there are ways to avoid spending over the odds.

We’ve rounded up all the available money help and support, as well as early-bird discounts and savvy savings to ease the financial burden of going back to school.

Buy in advance and save £s with some of the high street’s biggest names:

Sainsbury’s – will launch its 25% off school uniform offer tomorrow (19 June).

M&S - is expected to start offering 20% off school uniforms from 2 July. It hasn’t increased prices on school uniforms since 2021.

Aldi - is offering £5 school uniform bundles from 4 July.

Lidl – is also expected to re-run its £5 school uniform bundles from 4 July.

Tesco – is predicted to launch a 25% off school uniform offer on 23 July.

Peacocks – is set to offer 20% off school uniforms from 28 July.

Matalan – keeps its uniform costs low all year round with items starting from just £4. It currently has some items in the sale, with a pack of girl's school blouses in blue on sale for £2.

If uniforms are still out of reach - even with reductions - there are plenty of organisations and charities that can help with the cost.  

Grocery Aid School Essentials grant

Applications for the Grocery Aid School Essentials grant open on 18 June. You can get up to £150 per school-age child for up to three kids. To be eligible, you need to:

  • have worked for a grocery employer for at least six months
  • be receiving universal credit or child tax credit for school-age children
  • have savings of less than £4,000

The grant is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so act fast as money is limited.

Unison school uniform grant

Any Unison members on a low income who need support with school uniform costs may be eligible for up to £75 worth of vouchers per child. Applications for the school uniform grants open on 29 May.

Fashion & textile children’s trust

This charity helps families working in the UK fashion and textile industry who are struggling financially. They have grants available to help parents with uniform costs including clothing, footwear, study essentials, laptops for homework and specialist educational tools. To qualify for help you must be the parent or carer of a child under 18 and have worked in fashion or textiles for at least one year within the last nine.

Turn2us grant finder

There are lots of other specialist charities that could help. Search for grants.

Council school uniform grants

A number of councils offer grants to help parents on low incomes buy school uniforms and essentials for their kids. If your local council is offering grants, you should be able to get:

  • £42.90 for a primary school pupil
  • £61.20 for a secondary school, further education or special school pupil under 15 years old
  • £67.20 for a secondary school, further education or special school pupil over 15 years old
  • £26.40 for a secondary school, further education or special school pupil PE kit

Typically, you’ll be eligible for support if your child receives free school meals. Applications for council-run school uniform grants open around 1 July. Visit your local council’s website to see if school uniform grants are available in your area.

Money from the household support fund

If you’re not eligible for a school uniform grant or your council doesn’t offer them, you might still be able to get help from the household support fund. Depending on how your local council has chosen to spend its allocation, you could get money or vouchers to help towards the cost.

Support from the household support fund was due to end earlier this year, but the scheme was extended in the spring budget until 30 September 2024. Visit your local council’s website to find out more.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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