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School Clothing Grants, Free School Meals & Milk

Families on low incomes may be eligible to receive free school meals and milk for their children. There are also grants available to help towards the cost of school clothing.

Applications for the 2022/2023 academic year can now be accepted.

Families in receipt of the following will be eligible for a School Clothing Grant:

  • Income Support / Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Any Income-Related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit with an annual income of £17,005 or less
  • Universal Credit where your "monthly earned income" is not more than £1,417
  • Council Tax Reduction (not to be confused with Council Tax Discount)
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Families in receipt of the following will be eligible for Free School Meals & Milk:

  • Income Support / Pension Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • Any Income-Related element of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax credit (but not Working Tax Credit) with an annual income of £17,005 or less
  • Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an annual income of £7,920 or less
  • Universal Credit where your "monthly earned income" is not more than £660
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

All children in primary 1 to primary 5 will receive free school lunches, regardless of financial circumstances, however families who are in receipt of the above benefits should complete an application to ensure their child receives free milk and a clothing grant. All children in nursery are also entitled to free school lunches but are not entitled to a school clothing grant.

Free school lunches came into effect from 16 August 2021 for nursery pupils, and primary 5 pupils were included from 06 January 2022.

How to apply?

A winter clothing grant payment of £80 per child will be paid on Friday 27 January 2023.  You do not have to apply for this payment, see information at the bottom of this page.

Please note: you cannot apply for a School Clothing Grant for home educated children

Application Process 

We aim to assess all applications within 2 weeks of receipt and we will notify you of our decision by email. However, we may require extra time to assess if demand is high, this is usually between June and the schools returning in August. If your child has been granted free school meals and milk the school their school will be automatically advised. Normally, clothing grants will be paid into your specified bank account within 7 days of our assessment.

How much clothing grant will I receive?

The current grants are £150 for each primary school aged pupil and £180 for pupils of secondary school age. 

Students staying at school over the school leaving age will not be eligible for a clothing grant however they may apply for EMA payments Education Maintenance Allowance

I have already received a clothing grant this year but my child needs new uniform. Where can I go for help?

We would recommend that you speak to your child's school. Many schools run a clothing store or your school may be able to make a referral to the West Lothian school bank. This charity provides school uniform and clothing to families in need.

You may be entitled to other benefits Social Security Scotland - Benefits

Additional Financial Support - Automatic entitlement to additional financial support will be paid for all children in receipt of Free School Meals

Meal payments during the Christmas school holidays

A payment of £30 per child (£3 per day) will be paid for any child in P1 to P5 who received a School Clothing Grant or children in P6 and above if the child is in receipt of Free School Meals due to low income.  The payment is made into the same bank account the School Clothing Grant was paid into unless you have told us otherwise, and is usually made on the last school day before the holiday. For the Christmas school holidays we plan to make payment into accounts on Friday 16 December 2022.

Scottish Government Winter Bridging Payment

West Lothian Council will make a payment of £260 per pupil on behalf of Scottish Government in December 2022 for all children in P6 and above in receipt of Free School Meals.  The payment will also be made for children in P1 to P5 with Universal Entitlement to Free School Meals if the household income meets the Free School Meal qualifying criteria.  This payment is normally made on the last day of school prior to the school holidays, but for the Christmas school holidays we plan to make payment into accounts on Friday 16 December 2022.

Winter Clothing Grant Payment

A winter clothing grant payment of £80 per child will be paid on Friday 27 January 2023.  You do not have to apply for this payment, it will automatically be paid to all those who have already received a clothing grant for the 2022/2023 academic year.   You will receive an email by 16 January 2023 to confirm payment. If you have changed email address or bank account recently please inform the Education Benefit team of your new details as soon as possible by emailing EducationBenefits@westlothian.gov.uk. When emailing please also supply your full name and address to ensure the correct record is being amended.