10,000 Kirklees families could be struggling with school uniform costs

More than 10,000 struggling Kirklees families have been left counting the cost of school uniforms after council grants were scrapped

Parents on the poverty line could have to spend two-fifths of their August income on back-to-school costs, according to latest figures from a charity.

Now, the Examiner has learned 10,528 Kirklees families who were given grants between £28 and £31 in 2010 to kit their children out for school, could be anxiously trying to make ends meet ahead of the new school term.

The Kirklees Council figures – obtained under the Freedom of Information Act – come as annual school uniform costs, including clothing, coats, bags and stationery was estimated to be £156 for a primary school child and £285 for a child at secondary school.

The report, by Family Action, also revealed how some schools were making punishing demands on parents, requiring them to buy coats, blazers and sweatshirts emblazoned with special logos.

In Huddersfield, the phasing out of Kirklees Council grants prompted mum Kate France to set-up the Uniform Exchange in 2011, to help local families by recycling school uniforms.

“I’ve dealt with 70 requests in the last two days and am now getting about three requests a day,” said Kate, who is desperate for more school uniform donations to hand out free to struggling families.

“I do not understand why one school can charge under £10 for a jumper with a logo, while others can charge £16 for the same thing. Often the same size, colour and even brand. That frustrates me and makes it harder for families.”

She described the anxiety many parents face as they try to clothe their children for school each year.

Kate added: “Children just want to wear what everyone else wears to blend in. It is so important for their pride and self-esteem.

“I want people to know we are here and we can help.”

Uniform items are available to any children in need through the Uniform Exchange. To make a request, visit the website www.uniform-exchange.org or call 07955 724789.

Donations of old school uniforms can also be dropped off at any Kirklees children’s centre.

Read more: http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/10000-kirklees-families-could-struggling-5738735