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Aberdeenshire Council publishes a comprehensive update on school related grants and schemes

By David Porter

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Following recent Scottish Government announcements Aberdeenshire Council has publisjed the latest arrangements concerning free school meals, school clothing grants and family pandemic payments.

Expansion of Free school meals to primary 4 pupils - With effect from August 2021 universal free school meals will be expanded from Primary 1 to Primary 3 to include pupils in Primary 4.

From January 2022 this provision will be also include Primary 5 pupils.

Free school meals, family pandemic payment and school clothing grants (primary and secondary pupils) - All pupils entitled to statutory free school meals, will receive a payment of £287.50 for the period 28th June 2021 to 16 August 2021.

The payment is comprised by seven weeks free school meals at £12.50 per week, £100 school clothing grant allowance and the inclusion of £100 summer family pandemic payment.

Eligible families already in receipt of free school meals, do not have to apply for this funding.

Payment will be made direct to your nominated bank account by 25 June 2021

Pre-school age children are not entitled to free school meals and in accordance with the Scottish Government criteria are not entitled to the Family Pandemic Payment.

This is because the Scottish Child Payment is now available through mygov.scot.

A spokeman said: "If you have recently applied for income based free school meals, please be assured that we are dealing with all applications as quickly as possible, and we will contact you direct when your application has been processed.

Families who are on a low income but not currently in receipt of free school meals can check entitlement by completing the following online form at https://aberdeenshirecouncil.formstack.com/forms/free_school_meals_school_clothing_grant_application_form

Children are eligible for free school meals if their parents (or carers) are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

The current qualifying benefits and allowances are:

• Income Support (IS).

• Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

• Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit).

• Any income related element of Employment Support Allowance.

• Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not Working Tax Credit (WTC), and have an income of less than £16,105.

• Both Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an income of less than £7330.

• Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

• Universal Credit with a monthly take home pay of less than £610.

If you are aged 16-18 years-old and receive any of the above qualifying benefits in your own right, you can apply for free school meals.

Family Pandemic Payment Winter 2021 - In addition to the summer Family Pandemic Payment the Scottish Government also announced a £100 payment which will be paid no later than 16 January 2022.

Further information will be made available later in the year confirming expected payment dates.

For more information please visit: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/schools/school-info/assistance/free-school-meals/

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