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Back to school? Local variations in help with costs of school meals and school uniforms

September 5th 2019

The Welsh Government provides vital support to children and young people from low income families with the costs of attending school. Local authorities play a vital role in ensuring that this support is delivered at a consistently high level across Wales.

As part of a larger project on help for low-income families, the Bevan Foundation has this summer reviewed two key schemes:

  • Free School Meals (FSM)
  • Pupil Development Grant – Access (PDG – Access)

These schemes are administered by local authorities on behalf of the Welsh Government. During our research we found some examples of good practice as well as a number of examples where there was scope to strengthen administration. In these authorities, families who are trapped in poverty face great difficulty accessing the support that they are entitled to. In this report we therefore set out to chart the strengths and weakness of the current approaches taken by local authorities and call for consistent high standards across Welsh local government to ensure that:

  • All support under PDG – Access is provided in advance, not in arrears, and without proof of payment.
  • Any schools administering schemes do so professionally and consistently, without stigma or additional requirements, and are available during school holidays.
  • Families receiving help with housing costs or council tax reduction, or which apply for either FSM or PDG-access, are auto-enrolled into both schemes.
  • Online information is up to date and correct.
  • Families have a choice of channels with which to apply, including online.
  • Telephone systems are easy to navigate and calls are answered promptly.

In additional to the report we have prepared an info-graphic setting out what YOU could do to ensure that no child in Wales is at a disadvantage.

Report format: PDF
Language: English
Page:  15
Cost:  Free

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