Are you struggling to make ends meet even though your children are now at school? Or perhaps you can’t find a job that is during term-time only? Whatever problems you are having regarding your financial situation, you should know that there is support out there for parents with school-age children but I totally agree that its daunting and hard to navigate when you’re not sure what help is even out there to ask for.

From free school meals, help cover the cost of school uniform, transportation if you live far away from your children’s school, keep reading to find out exactly what help and support you are entitled to as a parent with school-age children.

Help with activities and uniforms

If you are on a low income, your local education authority (LEA) might be able to help you with certain costs relating to your children. For example, they may be able to offer you a voucher to help pay for a new school uniform, or they may offer to cover the costs of your child learning a musical instrument.

Furthermore, if your child’s school has organised a school trip such as a visit to a local museum or the theatre and they ask for a voluntary payment, you do not have to pay this if you cannot afford to, and they will not prevent your child from attending.

Find out more about what help you are entitled to as a parent with school age children at Growing Power.

Help with transport to and from school

If your child is aged between 5 and 16 years of age, your LEA might be able to help you with either free or lower-cost transport if you live too far away from the school for your child to walk and you cannot afford to cover the cost of public transport or taking them in a car.

For those that have been turned down for free travel by your local education authority, you can appeal this decision on the Child Law Advice website.

Free school meals

If you receive certain benefits, you can automatically apply for free school meals for your school-age children. These benefits include:

  • Universal credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit
  • Income support
  • Income-based job seeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Guarantee credit (this is part of Pension credit)

Find out if your child is eligible for free school meals at Gov.UK.

Help due to coronavirus

If your child can’t attend school either because they are vulnerable or because someone in your household has tested positive for coronavirus, your child’s school may be able to offer you support with home learning.

For example, they may be able to provide you with a computer or internet access so that your child can learn online from home. Alternatively, they may provide you with materials such as pens, paper, and books so that your child does not fall behind due to personal circumstances.

You may also be entitled to vouchers for food at home if your child usually gets free school meals. These are typically supermarket vouchers for £15 per week, although you may have a food parcel delivered directly to your door depending on where you live.