What is the Cost of the School Day?

All parents want their children to enjoy school and get the most out of their education- but what happens when children from low income households don’t access to a computer at home to do homework or their family can’t easily afford to pay for class trips and after school clubs?

School costs can put children from low income families at risk of missing out on opportunities and feeling different, excluded or unhappy. And, as the Dundee Fairness Commission found out school costs can also put real pressure on families who are already struggling financially

I don’t think I’ve got back on my feet since the summer, since I went out and got everybody their school clothes, shoes, jackets, bags. I don’t think I’ve recovered from that. (Sarah, mother of 4)

It was on the recommendation of the Fairness Commission that Dundee City Council commissioned the Child Poverty Action Group to deliver a Cost of the School Day project. Between April 2017- March 2018 the Cost of the School Day team will be working with 16 schools across Dundee. The project will speak to parents, children and school staff to understand how school costs impact on children and their families, identify where schools are already successfully removing cost barriers and getting the whole school community involved in developing solutions to address the costs of the school day.

The Cost of the School Day project has already been run successfully in Glasgow and has helped schools and the council to better understand the experiences of low-income families and how school costs can affect them and make changes to ensure that all pupils are able to participate and benefit from school. In Glasgow it has helped schools take action to better support low income families including changing uniform suppliers, improving how they promote Free School Meals, cutting down the number of non-uniform days and many more. As one head teacher said,

The biggest impact for our school, as a result of being involved in the Cost of the School Day project is that it really has made us all stop and think. I cannot emphasise enough that this project is not just an initiative, it is about changing mind-set that will grow and have further impact on the decisions made in our establishment (Head teacher, Glasgow)

If you would like to find out more about the project and how you can get involved please get in touch with Marion Fairweather (Cost of the School Day project Manager) on mfairweather@cpagscotland.org.uk

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