PARENTS are being forced to spend more on school uniform, even as the cost of living skyrockets.

Branded uniforms are causing some parents to fork out extra cash, according to The Mirror.

New rules state schools must think about affordability when setting uniform policies.

It's meant to help hard-up households to make sure more options are available to them, like second-hand uniforms, which can be far cheaper.

But because individual schools to set their own uniform policy, some of them are not sticking to the rules.

A few are pushing for uniform with a logo attached, which can cost up to four times more than the average supermarket prices.

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One parent said her son’s school insists on branded clothing which you can only buy from two shops.

She told The Mirror: "“The school logo must be on trousers, jumpers, everything except shirts – even the PE kit.

"Two pairs of trousers cost £38, in Asda they cost £8. It is ridiculous. They are just plain black trousers with a logo the size of a 50p piece.”

Kate Anstey, from Child Poverty Action Group, also said: “Lots of schools we have worked in over the last year still have policies which have really long lists of compulsory branded items.

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“But the guidance is there. Schools need to embrace it as an opportunity to support their communities.”

How can I cut down on uniform costs?

If you're worried about affording school uniform, there are ways to get a helping hand with costs.

For example, thousands can claim up to £150 to help pay for their child's school uniform.

This particular fund comes from the Scotland School Clothing Grant, and you can get between £120 and £150 depending on how old your child is.

You need to apply via your local council, which you can find using the government locator tool. You'll just need to put in your post code.

You might be able to get more money depending on your local council and what other grants they offer, but £120-£150 is the minimum.

You'll also need to double check when exactly when you can apply – for most it's between July until the end of March next year.

Also, some charities give grants to help with the costs of education.

But bear in mind they often have a limited amount of money to give and usually have specific criteria which must be met in order to get a grant.

For example, members of union Unison can access grants of between £50 and £150 if they meet other income criteria.

And struggling parents who work in supermarkets can apply for a £150 grant to help with the cost of school uniforms. 

Alternatively, charity Turn2Us has a free grants search tool so you can find out what help is available to you.

For all of these, you'll need to provide proof of financial hardship.

So, you'll be more likely to get help if you receive one of these, for instance:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

You also can apply for free school meals before the terms starts so you don't need to worry about the rising cost of food.

By applying for this, it means you'll get help throughout the holidays too when your little ones aren't in school.

That includes:

  • October mid-term 2022
  • Christmas 2022
  • February mid-term 2023
  • Easter 2023

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If you're still stressed about the cost of living crisis, here are some contacts that could lend a helping hand for the time being:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060

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