Parents who are worried about the cost of the return to school should check their eligibility for benefits online which could help them pay for uniforms, class materials, school trips and lunches, according to a UK charity.
The free website www.turn2us.org.uk
provides information on welfare benefits or charitable grants for families.
Reports suggest that schooling represents the largest increase in family spending over the last few years with costs estimated to have increased by almost a quarter (24%) from £694 a year in 2007 to £849 in 2012.
A Turn2us survey shows that sending children back to school is a major strain for many families who are already struggling financially.
One in three parents (33%) surveyed said they were worried about the costs they would incur in the new school year, and over a third (34%) said they felt there are too many extras- such as school trips, books and sports equipment – to pay for when sending children to school.
Around one in eight (12%) parents said their child had been bullied in the last 12 months because they didn’t have the newest or best clothes or equipment for school, and around one in seven (14%) said that their child had not been able to attend school trips the previous year because of the costs involved.
Turn2us cites one mother of three who was claiming child and working tax credit and felt she was not eligible for any further help. Through Turn2us she realised her family were entitled to Housing Benefit and help with Council Tax.
She says: “I would say to all other parents out there that the system is very complicated so it’s worth checking Turn2us even if you are already claiming grants and benefits, or have been turned away somewhere else.”