Cost of the school day acting as barrier to participation

New research published by Glasgow City Council has shown that costs across the school day are putting young people in the authority from low income families at a disadvantage.

The year-long pilot project looked at the impact of poverty on the lives of children and young people. Carried out by the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, the research author – Sara Spencer – has made a series of recommendations to increase equality.

The main aim of the project was to look at the impact of poverty on the school day – seeing that poverty doesn’t just affect a child’s home life. Costs children come up against at school, like paying for school trips or even school meals, can make participating in all activities difficult.

As Stephen Curran, Executive Member for Education and Young People, explains: “It is estimated in Glasgow that one in three children are in poverty – affecting almost 36,000 of our children.

“This can result in them feeling excluded from school activities, trips, meals or simply finding it difficult to take part in routine school tasks like submitting homework which requires online access.

“We will try to do everything possible that we can to eliminate the obstacles that poverty can create so that every child in Glasgow can have equal access to a quality education.

The Cost of the School Day report looked at education policies and school practices, and how they can impact on the participation and school experiences of children and young people living in poverty.

The main findings in the report focus on uniform, travel, learning, friendships eating at school, school trips, school clubs, fun events and attitudes to poverty.

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, commented: “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.”

The council has vowed to look at the findings and recommendations made in the report to shape future policies in the authority, and build on the good practice going on in the region’s schools.