Cost of Living Support

We know that many families are going through a tough time this year and we want to do everything we can to help you and your child. If you’re struggling with your finances, please read this page to learn all the ways in which you can access support both directly and indirectly.

School-related Support

Pupil Premium

Pupil Premium is government funding to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in schools in England. For each eligible child who receives Pupil Premium, Penrice gets additional funding which is used to support these children.

We use this funding to benefit our students in a wide range of ways:

  • We employ additional teaching staff, for example to deliver our reading recovery lessons
  • We fund a breakfast club every day of the school year
  • We provide equipment, such as scientific calculators
  • We support with uniform costs
  • We provide ingredients for food lessons
  • We support with making payment contributions for trips, for example during Curriculum Enrichment Week (CEW)
  • We fund one-off events

Who is eligible for Pupil Premium?
The pupil premium is available for a range of students:

  • Students eligible for free school meals (please see eligibility criteria below)
  • Looked-after children
  • Previously looked-after or adopted children
  • Service children

How do I register my child for Pupil Premium?
To apply, please complete the online form (link below) on the Cornwall Council website.

Free School Meals

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit – if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)
  • Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

To apply, please complete the online form (link below) on the Cornwall Council website. Note: Successful application for Free School Meals automatically leads to eligibility for Pupil Premium funding.

Breakfast Club

We run a school Breakfast Club every school day where students can enjoy cereal, fruit, toast and warm drinks to start the day.

In April 2023, we expanded our Breakfast Club provision thanks to the support of a charitable foundation, MCKS. More information is shared in the short video below.

Transport to School

You can apply for help with transport to school via Cornwall Council (link below).

Pre-Loved Uniform

Every year, we receive a whole host of generous uniform donations from the Penrice community. If you are struggling to afford uniform for your child, please contact the school reception so that we can arrange to show you what we have in stock.

The Penrice Pre-Loved Uniform Store

On the flipside, if you have any old uniform that your child has outgrown, we would be more than happy to receive it and share with others.

Also available is our Penrice Pre-Loved Facebook Marketplace where you can buy new uniform items off other parents/carers and sell uniform that your child has outgrown.

Other Useful Uniform Links

Free Period Products

No young woman should have to miss out on education because they cannot afford period products. With this in mind, Penrice gratefully receives government support in the fight against #PeriodPoverty. We are also a partner of the Red Box Project.

Free period products are available for those who require support (or those who are caught out unexpectedly) from the First Aid Room and the Student Family Centre (SFC). There are also Red Boxes stocked with products located in various departments throughout the school. Requesting period products is completely confidential with no questions asked. If your child would benefit from this support, please encourage them not to be embarrassed and to speak to Mrs Donna McGrath in the First Aid Room or, alternatively, the ladies in the Student Family Centre. Students are welcome to take one month’s supply of products when they visit.

Free period products located in the First Aid Room at Penrice. Also available in all female toilets.

Request for Funding

The Pastoral Support Mentors can also provide support, advice and information to families experiencing short or long-term difficulties, including financial support with school uniform or equipment, all of which may impact on a child’s education, behaviour and wellbeing. For further information and advice, please contact Kirstin Hooper, Student Support Lead –

Living Support Outside of School

The following information has been reproduced with kind permission from The Key Support Services Ltd.

Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Family Hub

Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)
You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get support from your local CAB, you just need to be a resident of the local area. The CAB can help you with:

  • Getting benefits or organising other financial support
  • Accessing support for essential costs (food, bills, rent)

Visit the Citizens Advice website or contact your local branch to book an appointment. Citizens Advice Bodmin, Old Library, Bodmin PL31 2JX
Tel: 0800 144 8848

Family Hub
Contact your local Family Hub to get help accessing all the support you might need as a family.

Check you haven’t overpaid tax

Make sure you’re on the right tax code. If you aren’t you might be due a refund. Use the Money Saving Expert’s free tax code calculator to find out.

Claim any benefits you’re entitled to

Use one of these benefits calculators to determine whether there are any benefits you could be claiming:

You may be able to get benefits paid early if you need cash urgently – this is known as ‘a short-term benefit advance’. You will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to action this.

Check you’ve received all the government’s cost-of-living payments

The government’s cost-of-living payments are available for those receiving certain benefits or tax credits. You don’t need to apply for these – if you’re eligible the money should go straight into your account. If you think you’re due a payment but haven’t received one, report a missing payment to the government via the same page.

Be aware of scams! If you receive any emails, texts or phone calls asking you to fill in an application form or asking for your bank details to receive a cost-of-living payment, do not talk to them or send a reply. Get more information on cost-of-living scams on the Money Saving Expert’s website.

Find out what help you can get with your energy bills

Take a look at these resources from the British Gas Energy Trust and the Money Saving Expert.

Local Foodbank

St Austell Foodbank gave to the public 1,777 parcels over the festive period in 2022 – this was a 39% increase on 2021! This really does highlight that the St Austell community and families are struggling.

If you are struggling to feed your family, the local St Austell Foodbank can offer support. The local foodbank also stocks toiletries and sanitary products.

At Penrice, we have an ongoing our relationship with the local foodbank. As part of this link, we now have access to the voucher scheme to access the foodbank. If you need this support, please don’t be afraid to ask. You can contact the safeguarding team and we can help; either call school and ask for Mr Dave Lewis or email at

The Light & Life Centre,
Units 4-5 Brunel Business Park,
The Sidings,
St Austell,
PL25 4TJ

Replace or repair household items at a low cost or for free

Check if you can get broken household goods replaced or repaired by your local community.

Find a warm space to beat the chill

Some community spaces open their doors to provide a safe and warm space for a few hours. Many also offer hot drinks and wifi. There are currently spaces available in St Austell, St Blazey as well as others further afield.

Find a warm place on:

Further Helps Sources & Information

  • Contact StepChange for debt advice
  • Contact Shelter if you’re having issues related to housing
  • Contact the Salvation Army for emergency assistance
  • See if you’re eligible for grants from Turn2us
  • Single parents can get support from Gingerbread
  • The Independent Food Aid Network have produced a free, easy to use help directory that lists plenty of help in Cornwall. Answer a few short questions (without having to share any personal information) and you’ll be provided with a whole host of help options. The help directory can be accessed here.
  • Cornwall Council have a resources page full of links and helpful advice for those struggling with the cost of living. The page can be accessed here.