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Education / Increase in families benefiting from free school meals and other grants

PARENTS are being encouraged to check whether their children are eligible to receive free school meals, clothing grants and pandemic payments, as new figures showed a greater number of families are benefiting than ever before.

Amid greater funding from the Scottish Government, last year saw a rise of 15 per cent in the number of pupils eligible for school meals, while there was also an eight per cent rise in eligibility for a clothing grant.

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The government has announced funding to allow local authorities to provide financial support during all school holidays in 2021/22 for families who receive free school meals in primary and secondary.

The allowance of £2.50 per day totals £92.50 per eligible child and is paid fortnightly during the summer holidays. Support w ill also be available during the October, Christmas and Easter holidays.

At present 283 pupils from 165 families are receiving free school meal holiday payments during the summer holidays.

The clothing grant has also been increased. For secondary pupils it is £150 per year, and for primary pupils it is £120 per year. Early learning and childcare pupils continue to receive £100, with the SIC remaining the only local authority paying clothing grants to pre-school pupils.

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In addition the Scottish Government has introduced two £100 family pandemic payments – the first to be paid before the summer holidays and the second before the Christmas holidays. Again these are payable to primary and secondary pupils who receive free school meals.

SIC children’s services director Helen Budge said: “As we all continue to try to cope with the pressures caused by the Covid pandemic, more of our families are potentially under financial pressure than ever before.

“With wider eligibility for support around clothing and free school meals, and an additional pandemic payment now on offer, I’d encourage anyone who may think they could benefit from extra support to get in touch.”

  • Anyone who wants to apply for support, or talk through the range of benefits on offer, can contact the children’s services’ finance team on (01595) 743832 or (01595) 743844 or visit the SIC’s website here.
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