Parents in Wales will soon be able to access a new £1.7m fund to help cover the cost of school uniforms.
The new fund, announced today by Education Secretary Kirsty Williams, will also cover equipment for activities within the curriculum, such as design and technology.
In addition, parents will also be able to access funding for equipment for out of school hours trips, including outdoor learning.
The new fund, which will be in place ahead of the new academic year in September, will become another element of the Pupil Development Grant (PDG) and will be known as PDG – Access.
As well as making funding available for new uniforms and activities both in and outside the classroom, PDG – Access will be available to a wider range of pupils than the previous School Uniform Grant and attract a higher per pupil funding level of £125.
For the first time, learners in both Reception and Year 7, who are eligible for free school meals will fall within scope of the funding. Unlike the previous school uniform grant, all looked after children in these year groups will also be covered.
As with the previous scheme, the funding will be distributed via local authorities. The Welsh Government has worked with local authorities to develop the grant and will continue to do so to make sure that the funding is being used effectively and that good practice is being shared amongst schools.
Announcing PDG-Access today, Kirsty Williams said:
“Reducing the attainment gap between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers is at the heart of our national mission to raise standards.
“The Pupil Development Grant has already been described as “invaluable” by schools. PDG – Access will allow us to go that step further in supporting our disadvantaged learners to reach their full potential and narrowing the attainment gap between those learners and their peers.”
In addition to the grant, further consideration is also being given to current non-statutory school uniforms guidance and how it can be strengthened.