A COUNCILLOR has called for the school uniform grant to be saved ahead of the opening of the new Barry secondary schools in September.

Buttrills Vale and Barry town councillor, Cllr Nic Hodges has asked the Vale council to support parents in buying school uniform after the Welsh Government cut the school uniform grant.

Plaid Cymru Cllr Hodges, vice chairman of the Vale’s learning and culture scrutiny committee, said the school uniform grant was more important than ever in the Vale because of the need to buy new uniforms for Barry’s two new comprehensive schools – Pencoedtre High (Bryn Hafren comprehensive) and Whitmore High (Barry Comprehensive School).

The grant of £105 is available to parents on low incomes whose children are moving from primary to secondary school.

He said the Vale council should also provide support for parents at the new schools to buy uniform.

Cllr Nic Hodges said: “It is very disappointing that Labour voted to cut the school uniform grant, which helped parents to pay for school uniforms as children moved from primary school to secondary school.

“With child poverty on the rise, the Vale council should follow the example of Plaid Cymru-run Gwynedd Council which has announced that they will keep the grant in order to help families deal with the costs.

“Barry has two new comprehensive schools opening this autumn, both with new uniforms. “There will be many parents worrying how much money it will cost.”

He added: “As part of the costs of school reorganisation, the Vale council should make this grant available to parents of children in the new schools so that all children can have new uniform from day one when the schools open.

“This will give the schools a good start to the academic year and give children pride in their new school.”

Vale council cabinet member for learning and culture, Cllr Bob Penrose said: “Regrettably, the council is not in a position to continue providing a school uniform grant on behalf of Welsh Government following withdrawal of the funding across Wales.

“It is our understanding that Welsh Government is looking into replacing the grant with a more flexible fund intended to better meet the needs of disadvantaged learners which could be in place from September 2018.”