Belfast Telegraph

O'Dowd encourages parents to apply for school uniform grants

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Education

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has encouraged parents of eligible children to apply for school uniform grants.

The Clothing Allowance Scheme covers pupils in primary, post-primary and special schools. The eligibility criteria are similar to those used for free school meals. Parents can obtain further information, check eligibility criteria and apply through their local Education and Library Board.

The Minister said: “We are now into August and parents and pupils will no doubt be planning for the start of the next school year which may include the purchase of new school uniforms. However, in this time of economic hardship, the cost of buying uniforms can be a struggle for many families.

“Through the Clothing Allowance Scheme, or school uniform grant, as it is also known, my Department provides much needed support to low income families to assist with the costs of school uniforms. The eligibility criteria for clothing allowances are similar to those used for free school meals and seeks to target families who are on benefits or on low incomes.”

The Minister continued: “I am pleased to advise that my Department provides approximately £4.3million per annum to support families with school uniform costs. This has enabled around 75,000 pupils here to benefit from the school uniform grant.

“Parents who think they may be eligible should contact their local Education and Library Board who will be able to provide additional information and advice as well as an application form. Further information is also available on the nidirect website at

“I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be entitled to this valuable allowance to seek further information from their local Board.”

Notes to editors:

1. The school uniform grant is funded by the Department of Education. The scheme is administered by the Education and Library Boards. The level of assistance available is as follows:

· primary school - £35.75
· post-primary/special school under £15-£51
· post-primary/special school over £15-£56
· post-primary/special school PE - £22
Only one clothing allowance per pupil will normally be paid during the school year.

2. Additional information including eligibility criteria and application forms are available on the numbers below:

· Belfast Education and Library Board – 028 9056 4239 or 028 9056 4241
· North-Eastern Education and Library Board – 028 2566 2571, 028 2566 2572 or 028 2566 2573
· South-Eastern Education and Library Board – 028 9056 6319
· Southern Education and Library Board – 028 3751 2523
· Western Education and Library Board – 028 8241 1496

3. The Department of Education’s ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit for more information.

Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel:

4. See photos from the Department of Education in our collection at

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