Financial support for Highland families towards the costs of school clothing has been increased from £90 per pupil per year to £140 from academic year 2018/19.
Working in partnership with CoSLA, the Scottish Government has agreed that all Scottish councils will provide a minimum £100 school clothing grant for eligible families.
For 2017/18, Highland Council provided £90 a year per school pupil, the 5th highest rate in Scotland, which was fully funded from the revenue budget. During 2017/18, more than 3,700 Highland pupils benefited from a school clothing grant.
The additional funding will be allocated to top up the existing rate, taking the council’s grant amount to £140 per pupil.
"This exceeds the £100 minimum amount agreed with the Scottish Government by £40 from academic year 2018/19," a council spokesperson said today (Monday June 18).
Councillor Alister MacKinnon, chair of the corporate resources committee, added: "Passing on 100% the funding from the Scottish Government for school clothing grants is the right thing to do for our school pupils.
"The austerity cuts continue to place many families in financial hardship and low income families in Highland. A grant of £140 per pupil will help our learners to participate in school life and ease the financial pressures for parents and carers. I urge all eligible families to apply for this grant."
Councillor Andrew Baxter, care, learning and housing chair, said "Providing this level of financial assistance with the costs of school clothing for eligible families means that Highland pupils are better equipped to attend school and to focus on their education without the stigma of wearing clothes that simply don’t fit. Assisting parents and carers with the costs of school clothing can help to alleviate poverty in the Highlands. "
Leader of the Council Councillor Margaret Davidson commented: "The average cost of clothing primary and secondary school pupils in Highland is now estimated to range from around £106 to £130 per pupil which is a significant outlay for parents. I very much welcome this increase in school clothing grant as it helps to reduce inequalities for Highland families and is one of the measures being taken to proactively address poverty, and in particular child poverty."
Applications are now being invited for the academic year starting in August 2018. To streamline the application process, the council has a single application form for school clothing grants and free school meals. They are available from the operations team on 01463 703645.
Help with completing the form is also available from the welfare support team: Freephone 0800 090 1004.
Pictured: Councillors MacKinnon and Baxter