Financial assistance

​​A range of financial assistance is available to help with the cost of attending school.

Child Benefit

You may be entitled to Child Benefit if you are responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).

Best Start Grant

The Best Start Grant​ is a package of three payments. It pr​ovides parents or carers who get certain benefits or tax credits with financial support during the key early years of a child's life.

School Clothing Grants

All Scottish local authorities will pay a minimum of £100 per child to all families which are eligible for school clothing grants. Eligibility criteria for school clothing grants is decided by local authorities, please check your local authority’s website to find out if you are eligible.

Free school meals​​

Free school meals are provided to all pupils in the first three years of primary school at all publicly-funded schools in Scotland. Free school meals will continue to be made available to pupils after primary 3 where their parents or carers are in receipt of qualifying benefits. Details of qualifying benefits are available on the Mygov.Scot website​.

​Pupils in the upper years of secondary who receive any of those benefits in their own right are also entitled to free school meals. Local authorities also have the discretion to offer free school meals to families not in receipt of qualifying benefits where they are experiencing financial hardship due to exceptional ​circumstances, please contact your local authority for advice if you are experiencing difficulty in meeting the cost of school meals.

Tax credits

In April 2003 the UK government introduced two new tax credits, the Working Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. (You do not have to be in work to receive Child Tax Credit.)

Parents on low income or who are out of work may be entitled to universal credit.

Around half of families with children can get tax credits, but you don't need to have children to qualify. Visit the Gov.UK website for more information or call the tax credits helpline on 0345 300 3900.

Lone Parents

One Parent Families Scotland is an organisation that offers a free helpline number and provides general advice to lone parents on issues concerning them.

Education Maintenance Allowance

If you have a child, 16-19 years old, who is attending school or college they may be able to get an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). An EMA provides financial support and is dependent on your household income.

To find out more, visit theEducation Maintenance Allowance (EMA) website.

Carers Allowance

You may be entitled to Carers Allowance if you care for someone 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. Visit the Gov.UK website​ for more information on qualifying benefits and eligibility criteria.​

Disability Living Allowance

You may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance for children who have health conditions or disabilities and who need more support than a child the same age who doesn’t have a disability.

​Related links​

Citizens Advice Scotland - The Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland offer free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on a wide range of subjects.