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Helping with school costs

The challenge

In Autumn 2022, Wales started the rollout of free school meals to all primary school children – a UK first. And free school meals aren’t the only provision available to low-income families. The School Essentials Grant helps with uniform, school kit and stationery.

Knowledge among eligible families of the support available was limited:

  • Less than 20% of parents had applied for the Schools Essentials Grant.
  • Nearly two-fifths of parents didn’t know help with classroom essentials was available to them.
  • 67% of parents had never claimed free school meals.

To make sure everyone knew about the support available, our task was to launch a bilingual communications campaign for Welsh Government Education.

The idea

First, we gathered insights. We listened to parents from different communities and tested our ideas with them.

Research identified a disparate approach to applying for grants through local authorities and schools, so we created a single form on a Welsh Government landing page to drive all applications through.

We brought schools and local authorities on board as that’s who parents wanted to hear from alongside explainer videos and clear messages for Welsh Government and partner social media channels.

With many families cancelling home Wi-Fi to cut household costs, we couldn’t just stick to digital activity.

We mapped out the most deprived areas in Wales, down to specific streets and postcodes. Then, sent advertising vans into communities in need. Our radio ad played on local stations. We displayed digital ads on bus stops, near supermarkets, and on streets close to schools.


increase in parents applying for extra help with uniform and classroom essentials.