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Education Authority

Education Maintenance Allowances

From August 2004, EMAs provide financial support for 16 year olds from (nationally defined) low income families who undertake a full time school or college course. The Comhairle’s Education Department will manage the scheme for pupils in Western Isles schools. EMAs are a weekly allowance payable during term time.

EMAs are paid directly into a pupil’s bank account every two weeks. The size of the allowance will depend on the financial circumstances of the family. EMAs are only paid for full weeks within term time up to a maximum of 42 weeks in any one academic year. They can only be paid where 100% weekly attendance has been achieved by the young person (but authorised absences such as certified sickness and work experience count as attendance). EMA payments are not made during short term holidays which include the October holiday, Christmas and Easter. Application forms are available to download here.

For more information please contact:
Catriona Maciver
Education & Children’s Services
Sandwick Road
Isle of Lewis
Tel: 01851 822729 or 822763
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Free School Meals

Free School Meals are granted to children from families on the following basis:
1. Children of families who receive Income Support.
2. Children of families who receive Income Based Job Seekers’ Allowance.
3. Children of families who receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
4. Children who receive Income Support or Income Based Job Seekers’ Allowance in their own right.
5. Children of families who receive Child Tax Credit but do not receive a Working Tax Credit and who have an annual income (as assessed by the Inland Revenue) of below £15,910.00.
6. Families who are entitled to Free School Meals must renew their claim at the beginning of each new school year.

If a pupil is entitled to free school meals then their cashless catering card will automatically be topped up by £1.90 daily for their meal at the school canteen. Application forms are available to download here.

Assistance with Clothing and Footwear

Under Section 54 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar must ensure that no child, attending a school under their management, is unable to take advantage of the education provided because of the inadequacy of their clothing. The Comhairle has, therefore, made provision to assist with the purchase of essential clothing where the child’s education is affected by lack of essential items.

The Comhairle will provide a clothing grant for pupils, as long as they have attained the age of five years, are ordinarily resident in the Western Isles and have enrolled in a school in the Western Isles.  Application forms are available to download here.


Pupils living over two miles from the school are entitled to free transport to school. (Pupils living nearer to the school may use transport where space is available on the vehicle provided for other pupils.) Pupils requiring transport on medical grounds must produce medical certificates before the beginning of the school session so that suitable arrangements can be made in advance.

The vehicle driver is in full charge of the vehicle and is entitled to expect good conduct on the part of pupils being transported. In the event of misconduct, the driver will stop the vehicle and warn those concerned. If it is necessary to note their names, he should report the incident to the Rector as soon as possible.

The Director of Education may exclude a pupil from a vehicle for misconduct.

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