School uniform funding criteria must be changed

THE criteria for financial aid to help cover crippling school uniform costs must be lowered insists a local support group.
Community Action Fermanagh (CAF) state that too many parents are denied monetary help to cover the costs of school uniforms because they are not unemployment and deemed to be earning a ‘high income’ to be able to kit out their kids.
However, while assistance is available to those who earn less than £16,190 per year, for those on that figure, assistance is denied – despite that salary being swallowed up by heating, electric and food bills.
Even those who qualify for financial help find that it doesn’t come anywhere near annual school uniform costs.
Samantha Gallagher of CAF said: “If we look at the criteria to make one eligible for assistance towards the cost of a uniform, one must be on an income related benefit or else be in receipt of Tax Credits with an annual income less than £16,190 or Universal Credit with annual income less than £14,000.
“The help you then receive towards the cost can be nowhere near the actual price of a uniform, especially post primary uniforms. Families are therefore struggling with this deficit.”
Ms Gallagher also highlighted the fact that wages not being in line with inflation also hurt parents in the pocket as prices everywhere go up as their own paypacket remains the same.
She added: “If families are working, their wages are not increasing in line with inflation and they tend to be over the threshold for assistance towards the cost of uniforms.
“They are struggling to meet the price of uniforms as they simply do not have enough disposable income.
“Most working families I speak with are really struggling and are growing more and more concerned about meeting the basic needs for their families.
“This has been an issue for many years and is not new to this year, however, with everything else rising in cost alongside this issue, it compounds the need, more than ever, for more assistance for those struggling families.”

Typical school uniform prices for Fermanagh parents

Classroom uniform
Blazer – £80
Jumper x2 – £62
Packet of 2 Shirts x3 (to last the week) – £68.25 (roughly £11.38 per shirt)
Trousers x2 – £26.75
Tie – £11.50
TOTAL – £275.25
BOYS – PE kit
Hoodie – £45
Top x2 – £52
Shorts x2 – £32
Sports socks (five pack) – £6.50
Tracksuit bottoms – £32
TOTAL – £167.50


(not including shoes, trainers & sports boots)
Classroom uniform
Blazer – £80
Jumper x2 – £62
Skirt x2 – £52
Blouse (2 pack) x3 (to last the week) – £68.25 (roughly £11.38 per blouse)
Tie – £11.50
TOTAL – £272.75
GIRLS – PE kit
Hoodie – £45
Top x2 – £34
Skirt x2 -£32
Sports socks (5 pack) – £6.50
Leggings – £33
TOTAL – £150.50

(not including shoes, trainers & sports boots)

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