Although state school education is free, the cost of school clothing can be too much for many families, especially if items such as blazers and ties must be bought from a specific supplier.
The UK Government has introduced new rules for schools that come into force in September 2022 to ensure such branded items are kept to a minimum and that the total costs of uniforms and PE kits are affordable for all.
Each school should have its uniform policy published on their website.
Ways to reduce the cost of school uniforms
Surrey County Council does not provide financial help with paying for school uniforms, but here are some ways you can reduce the cost.
- Ask your child's school if they provide discretionary grants for school uniform.
- Many schools hold second-hand stock for sale, exchange or donation.
- You can buy many of the basic, non-branded items, such as shirts, trousers, skirts and shoes at low cost from supermarkets and high street chain stores.
Local services who can support with school uniform costs
The charities and organisations below may be able to help with the cost of school uniforms.
- Stripey Stork - offer new/good condition pre-loved children's clothes from birth up to age 16. Stripey Stork is not able to respond to requests from individual families, but you can request a referral from a family support worker or a social worker.
- Walton Charity - aims to improve the lives of people in Elmbridge in a number of ways, including providing individual grants, community grants and support for other organisations, independent living for people aged over 55, and social housing for single people in need.
- The Mayor of Guildford's Local Support Fund - helps local people facing financial problems, which includes with the cost of school uniforms. The referral needs to be completed by a professional involved with you such as a social worker, health visitor or doctor.
- The Dempster Trust - provides support to those in the Farnham area, who are in need or financial hardship. They can support with costs associated with schooling, including uniforms and school trips. Requests to the Dempster Trust need to be supported/signed by a professional involved with you or your family.
Ways to receive financial help
If you are finding it hard to pay for school uniforms, you may like to see if there are any ways you can increase your funds. You could try the following.
- Use the online calculators on the entitledto website and Turn2Us to check if you are receiving all the benefits that you are eligible for.
- Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can also advise you on your entitlement to benefits, and may also be aware of local funding that could help towards costs
- If you have a professional supporting you, they may be able to apply for a grant from Buttle UK on your behalf
- If you are on certain benefits, you can apply for an interest-free budgeting loan from the Government
- Take a look at the Family Finances and Organisations offering financial help to families webpages or the Family Information Service Directory to see what other support is available.
You may also like to contact Surrey County Council's Health and Welfare Hub which helps signpost people to information about financial, health and welfare support available.