Westminster Labour Councillors have called for the Conservative-run Council to do more to help families with rising school uniform costs. According to research by The Children’s Society, the average uniform costs £315 per primary school pupil and £337 per secondary pupil. Some councils provide a school clothing grant to help towards the cost of a school uniform for eligible families. Currently Westminster has no such scheme for supporting families with uniforms. There are over 5,000 children eligible for free school meals in Westminster.
Instead, early help practitioners do ask schools if they have a fund to support vulnerable families with uniform costs or if they can provide a uniform and, if not, support families by applying to charities for money to buy the clothing, which is done on a case-by-case basis.
Shadow Education spokesperson Councillor Tim Roca said:
“We owe it to families to do everything we can to support them with the ever-increasing costs of education. The £6 million spent on the Conservative Marble Arch Mound could have paid for 17,800 school uniforms. Other Councils already run schemes to help hard pressed families, it’s about time Westminster caught up.”
Angela Piddock, Labour Candidate in Westbourne Ward and a former Westminster head teacher, said:
“It’s shocking that a Borough prepared to spend millions on a temporary attraction, does nothing to support its poorer families meet the ever-increasing cost of school uniform. “