More families in Wales will receive extra funding to help with costs such as uniform and sports kit as a result of £3.3m of Welsh Government funding.
The PDG Access Grant which previously only applied to children in certain school years has now been extended to children in all years from Reception right through to Year 11.
The Grant provides funding of up to £200 to help families who are eligible for free school meals with the extra costs associated with going to school, such as buying uniform, sports kit and equipment for other extra-curricular activities. The cost of these items can be a barrier for families on lower incomes, and the expansion of the Grant will allow families to be able to afford the equipment that children need to fully access their education.
Jane* had been receiving PDG Access grant funding for her youngest child, and has now successfully applied to receive it for her eldest child.
She says: “As a single mum of three children, having access to the grants has been amazing and has helped significantly. I was able to apply for the grant for my youngest daughter who started Reception in September and was able to purchase everything she needed, plus a few extra t-shirts and pairs of tights.
“Since the grant has been extended to all year groups, I have applied for my eldest daughter who attends Year 4. I applied online and had an email within a few hours to say it had been accepted and I would have the money within 14 days.
“This is going to be a great help with the cost of things going up so much. I will be able to ensure she has a new uniform ready for the Summer.”
Minister for Education Jeremy Miles said: “We know that families are facing extreme pressure with increases in the cost of living, and extra costs associated with going to school can be a real worry for them. Tackling the impact of poverty on learner attainment is a key priority for this Government, and removing barriers and worry around the cost of the school day by investing in the PDG Access Grant is one way in which we can support our children, young people and their families.
“The PDG Access grant has already made a huge difference to many families across Wales, and expanding its provision means that more children will be able to benefit and buy the uniform or equipment they need.
“I want to make sure that income is not a barrier to children having access to activities around the school day, but that they are able to take part in the same activities as their peers and are given the support they need to reach their full potential.”
Lee Arthur, ALN Co-ordinator and Wellbeing Lead at Llanharan Primary School said: “Even though our school’s uniform policy does not expect parents to purchase uniform branded with the school’s logo, the price of trousers, tops, shoes and coats etc. can soon mount up.
“Not having the appropriate clothing can have a significant impact on a child’s health but also on their self-esteem, confidence and emotional wellbeing.
“The PDG Access Grant has allowed parents the opportunity to purchase appropriate school uniform that has enabled our pupils to confidently attend school without poverty being a barrier to their attendance and learning.”
*Names have been changed
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