Guidelines for Referrers

Referrals for uniform are only taken from professionals (teachers, social workers, health visitors, family support workers and others) for children they know who attend a City of Edinburgh school. The family is not means tested and they don’t need to be receiving benefits to qualify. We trust our referrers to make the best decision for that child, and we purposefully make the referral process as simple and straightforward as possible for them. This removes barriers to referral, speeds up the process, and is vital to achieving our central aim: that any, and every, child in Edinburgh who needs our help receives what they need, when they need it.

We promise that our referral process will always be child focused, fair, non-judgemental, and as accessible as possible.

An ESUB bag of uniform can transform school attendance, turn around a negative attitude to school, reduce bullying and isolation and increase self-esteem, allowing children to fully access the curriculum. In a small, practical way, we aim to show the most vulnerable families in Edinburgh that their wider community wants the best outcome for their child. 

What to think about when considering whether to make a referral…

Is the child or young person genuinely in need of school clothing? For example, are they unable or unwilling to attend school without new clothing? Are they vulnerable to bullying because of their current clothing? Is their wellbeing or attendance compromised because of issues around school clothing? Are hygiene issues likely to be improved by the provision of new school clothing?

Whilst inappropriate referrals are rare, we do have limited resources and it is important that new school clothing is prioritized for children and young people who specifically need it, rather than as a “nice to have” option. We reserve the right to refuse a referral if we consider it to be inappropriate.

Do you know the child or young person and/or their main carer, so that you can ask us for the most needed items in the correct sizes? Please involve the child or young person for whom you are making the referral in the decision-making process if possible. We want as much as possible for dignity, choice and control to be part of the referral process and for the child or young person to decide (with support from a carer at a younger age) how we can best meet their needs. If the young person feels very strongly about pencil skirts or skinny jeans then please let us know.

We understand that carers may not want their child or young person to know their clothing is coming from us. In that case, please describe us as an online school uniform shop but still allow the child or young person to determine what they will be wearing to school. We ask that the referrer consults the adult with whom the child or young person lives when making decisions about whether uniform is actually needed and if so in what size.

Have all other options for help for the family been considered? It is important families are claiming all possible grants and allowances to help them with the cost of the school day for their children. On many occasions, families are unaware of sources of financial help and therefore it’s worth having an open discussion about this with the parent/carer of the child.

Does the family know about and have they applied for School Clothing Grant? City of Edinburgh Council have a joint application for Clothing Grant and Free School Meals. The means tested eligibility criteria are the same for both. Further information can be found at

Does the family know about and have they applied for Best Start Grant? A means tested grant can be received for a child starting school. Further information can be found at

Does the family know about and have they applied for Education Maintenance Allowance? This is a means tested allowance for young people (16-19 years old still in full time education) which can be used to buy uniform and other necessary items for school. Further information can be found at

Do you know about the Edinburgh Police Fund for Children where you can apply for a grant for coats and school shoes? You can find out more at (Please note that we do not supply school shoes because it is very difficult for us to get the correct fit and style, and better if the child or young person can try the shoes on and choose themselves).

Do you know about the Scottish Child Payment, which helps towards the costs of supporting a family? This is now open to under 16s. You can find out more at

Can the child’s school help in any way? ESUB has helped schools across Edinburgh to establish their own ‘school uniform bank’ or ‘swap shop’ of nearly new items. For a child or young person their own school may already have items that could help. Many schools have a Pupil Wellbeing Support Teacher or Maximise worker who may be able to help with uniform and in many other ways too.

Referral FAQs

The family received one of the above grants but they didn’t spend the money on the uniform, instead they spent it on something else.  Does that mean I can’t make a referral?
We appreciate that life isn’t always simple and sometimes difficult choices are made by families. Our aim is that any, and every, child or young person who needs our help receives what they need, when they need it.  If a referral is not made, will the child or young person be disadvantaged? If so, then please make a referral. Keep in mind we can only accept one referral per child per calendar year.

How do I refer a child or young person?
To refer a child or young person for school uniform you must use an online form on our website. You have to register first at Once your registration is approved, you can login and refer at  Please note that our staff check and approve registrations individually, so please bear with us if your registration is not approved straight away. You will receive a notification once your registration is approved. Please check your junk mail folder if you haven’t received this within a few days of your application.

How many items can I request?
The number of items you can request depends on the time of year. We aim to provide a minimum of 5 items for each child or young person. Our aim is to allow you to select the items most needed by the child or young person. We ask that you request a maximum of 2 of the same item if possible.

The child has received a “back to school” uniform pack last year; can I refer again?
The short answer is yes.  We trust our referrers to make a referral when they feel it’s the right thing to do.  Although it is important to consider the reason why the child needs to be referred again and is there any way to help the family become less dependent on our service.  Does the family need help budgeting and planning ahead to ensure they can manage to purchase the uniform themselves? Many schools run a recycling shop where parents/carers can buy good quality second hand items at a very reasonable price or get them for free.

How soon after a referral can additional items be requested for the same child?
Only one referral per child will be accepted per calendar year, unless there are exceptional circumstances or a change of school. Please contact us first if you wish to request a second bag of uniform or any additional items.

Are all the items provided to families brand new?
The items we provide to families are new.

How do I ensure I get the right size of clothing?
It is extremely important to obtain accurate sizes for the child from the adult the child or young person lives with. The child may be 9 years old but they may fit age 11-12 year-old clothes. Please do not guess based on year group. It is quite common from P7 onwards for a young person to have had a growth spurt and need adult sizes. The issue is even more important for teenagers e.g. collar size for boys, waist size and leg length for boys’ trousers including skinny jeans, maybe chest size for girls, or is it S/M/L/XL/XXL, or Adult size 12/14/16 for instance for girls. Please select the correct size on the form. Tell us as much information as you can to help us provide the most suitable clothes.  Please allow for room for growth in primary children. While we do not wish to provide clothing that swamps a child or young person, a little growth room extends the useful life of their clothing.

What do I receive if I select Jumper/Sweatshirt/Cardigan as a Uniform Item?
We will supply what we have available from stock in the correct size and colour. We don’t supply cardigans to boys. We are most likely to supply round-neck sweatshirts to primary children and more traditional V-neck school jumpers to high school children. Please provide any other information for us in the box provided if you have a particular preference.

The child has specific needs or preferences; can this be accommodated?
Please clarify any specific requirements. One referrer said a teenager would only wear long sleeved shirts for personal reasons, another said the child had sensory issues so needed less fussy clothes. We want to make sure the items we provide are suitable for the young person receiving them. Realistically, it can be difficult to meet all requirements but we will do the best we can.

How long will it take before the uniform pack is ready?
Upon receipt of a referral we aim to provide the completed uniform pack within approximately three weeks.  This can vary and where possible we will notify you if we believe it may take longer to provide the uniform pack.  In addition, during the months of May-August when we are preparing hundreds of “back to school” packs it can take longer to provide a uniform pack. Please let us know both the preferred and alternative colour for each uniform item you request as this helps us to have your bags ready sooner. There may be supply chain issues at times and some items may be more difficult for us to get hold of than others. We usually have white polos in stock, so a bag with white polos may be ready sooner than a bag asking for green or navy polos.

How will I know when the uniform pack is ready to be collected?
Referrers will receive a ‘Ready For Collection’ email to confirm packs are ready for collection using the contact details entered on the referral form. Packs can be collected from our premises at 1 Waterfront Avenue in Granton, EH5 1SG. We are in the big Scottish Gas building. There is parking available at the back of the building. Collection times will be given in the collection email.

What if I cannot collect the uniform pack?
If you are unable to collect from ESUB we will make arrangements for the pack(s) to be delivered to you by one of our volunteers. This may increase the time it takes to get a completed pack to you. The address that you ask us to deliver to must be easily accessible with someone available to accept the delivery during office hours. Please note that we do not deliver directly to families. Unless a referral has come directly from school, we are unable to deliver packs directly to schools, especially in the school holidays. Feedback showed that collection from school was a source of stress and embarrassment for some parents. A condition of the referral is that referrers are responsible for passing the uniform pack directly to the family concerned.

Can I send the child, family/carer to collect the uniform pack?
No, you or a colleague may collect the uniform pack.  If at any time you need to send someone else other than yourself, please contact ESUB’s Operations Coordinator ( to confirm the arrangements in advance.

What if the items in the uniform pack don’t fit?
Contact ESUB’s Operations Coordinator ( to confirm which items need to be exchanged.  List all items needed along with sizes and any other requirements.  When collecting the new items please ensure the original items are returned at that time.

Do I have to tell the parent/carer the uniform pack is from Edinburgh School Uniform Bank?
Referrers make an application on behalf of a family. Please work with the adult who helps the child/young person to be ready for school, or directly with older teenagers as appropriate.

Can I publicise photos of our uniform packs or children receiving a uniform pack on social media?
Our service is anonymous and we wish to ensure those receiving our uniform packs do so with dignity. If you would like to publicise photos on social media, please ensure none of the clothes from our packs would be recognised when the child wears them, no paperwork is visible and no children are in the photo. Please contact us to discuss further.

How do I ensure I am complying with GDPR regulations?
Refrain from entering any identifiable information as this is a breach of GDPR regulations.  For instance, please do not tell us the child’s name and address etc.

If you have any queries, please email our Operations Coordinator at