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Cost of school day punishes poor pupils

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​Low income families struggle with school costs, report finds

Rising costs can act as a barrier to the participation of children from low income families at school.

Many are finding it difficult to pay for uniforms, equipment and costs – and to access the internet in order to complete homework.

This can make pupils feel excluded and in some cases, may have a direct result on their ability to achieve, research carried out by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland has found.

Data was collected from a unique, year-long pilot project in Glasgow looking at the impact of poverty on the lives of children and young people and their access to education.

No child should ever miss out or be made to feel awkward at school just because their families are struggling

Working with 340 young people and 120 school staff from eight primary and secondary schools in the city, the aim was to consider the impact of poverty on the school day, the barriers to participation this can have and how we can improve on current school policies and practices.

John Dickie, director of CPAG Scotland,said: “No child should ever miss out or be made to feel awkward at school just because their families are struggling on a low income but our work tells that all too often they do.

“That’s why we have been absolutely delighted to work with education and health services in Glasgow to identify the cost barriers children face at school, and are even more pleased that individual schools and the council are already taking practical action to remove those barriers.

“It’s now vital that all schools, local authorities and national government act on this report to ensure that no child misses out on any aspect of school because of financial barriers. If Scotland is serious about closing the attainment gap all our young people should benefit from everything that our schools have to offer, whatever their family income.”

The main findings in the report – called The Cost of the School Day - focus on uniform, travel, learning, friendships, eating at school, school trips, school clubs, fun events and attitudes to poverty.