Free School Meals / Assistance with School Clothing

Assistance with School Clothing

Under Section 54 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar must ensure that no child, attending a school under their management, is unable to take advantage of the education provided because of the inadequacy of their clothing. The Comhairle has, therefore, made provision to assist with the purchase of essential clothing where the child’s education is affected by lack of essential items.

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar has adopted as Council policy the following procedures in relation to the assessment of clothing grant applications:

  1. The Comhairle will provide application forms so that a parent/guardian can make a claim for assistance with the purchase of school clothing.
  2. Receipt of this application will bring to the Comhairle’s attention that a pupil is unable to take full advantage of the education being provided due to the inadequacy of his clothing.
  3. The Comhairle has set financial criteria for eligibility for the grant, namely receipt by the parent of:
    • Children of families who receive Income Support.
    • Children of families who receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) income related.
    • Children of families who receive Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.
    • Children of families who receive Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income below £20,000.
    • Universal Credit with an earned income below £20,000
  4. If a family’s income is derived from any of these benefits, the Comhairle will accept the parent’s assertion of need for financial assistance and will provide a clothing grant once in each financial year (1 April – 31 March) on the basis that their level of income is indicative of the likelihood of need.
  5. If a parent/guardian wishes to make a second application for financial assistance, in the same financial year, the parent/guardian must provide evidence that their child is unable to take advantage of the education provided due to the inadequacy of their clothing. The parent/guardian may wish to enlist the help of their child’s Head Teacher, a Health Visitor or Social Worker in this situation.
  6. The Comhairle will also make clothing grants to the children of widows whose income is less than or equal to the income they would receive if they were to be eligible Income Support.
  7. The Comhairle will also accept application for financial assistance from parents (other than widows) who are not receiving these benefits but whose income is less than or equal to that which they would receive if they were eligible for Income Support. The onus of satisfying the Comhairle that this is likely to be the case is placed on the applicant. If you are in this situation, please submit your application with a covering letter containing the relevant information.
  8. The Comhairle has provided an appeal mechanism where the parent/guardian does not qualify for or has already received a grant. Parents/guardians also have the right to appeal against the level of grant that has been awarded to ensure that their child is adequately and suitably clad to take advantage of the education provided.
  9. The Comhairle will provide a clothing grant for pupils, as long as they have attained the statutory age for school entry, are ordinarily resident in the Western Isles and have enrolled in a school in the Western Isles. Pupils who do not attain the age of five years until after they start school will not be eligible for a clothing grant until the end of July/beginning of August of the year in which they start school.

Free School Meals

Free School Meals are granted to children from families in receipt of:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Any income related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit, but not Working Tax Credit, with an income of less than £16,105
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of up to £7,500
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of not more than £625

Please note that entitlement to free meals cannot be backdated.

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