Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Cost of the School Day Programme, Child Poverty Action Group

What is this?

The Cost of the School Day Programme supports schools to identify and overcome barriers that children from low income families face in terms of the costs associated with their participation and engagement at school.

Who is this for?

This will be of interest and use to all involved in education, including school staff, parents, partners and third sector organisations.

How to use these exemplars to improve practice

The approaches and strategies in the links below are designed to support practitioners to consider how they might develop Cost of the School Day in their own context, with a focus on closing the equity gap and raising the attainment of children and young people from the most deprived areas. Practitioners should take account of their own context and consult with all relevant partners before deciding which approaches and strategies are most appropriate for the children in their school or setting.

A series of questions is provided to guide your reflection. These can be used and adapted to reflect on current practice through professional dialogue with colleagues. You may also wish to create a bespoke set of questions for your context using How good is our school? (4th edition).

  • How well can we demonstrate improved attainment for groups and individuals facing barriers to learning, including poverty?
  • Have we successfully established a fully inclusive learning environment? How do we know this?

Explore the exemplars

Example 1 - Glasgow

More than one in five children (220, 000) children across Scotland are officially recognised as living in poverty. In Glasgow, it is estimated that one in three children is living in poverty. Insufficient household income can mean that children and young people don’t have the resources needed for school and can’t easily afford to take part in school activities that cost money. This can put them at risk of missing out on opportunities at school and feeling different, excluded and unhappy.

Based on research conducted by Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland with over 300 children and young people and over 100 staff in Glasgow, the Cost of the School Day project presents the key financial barriers to participation for children from low income households, and children’s views on the best ways to overcome them.

Cost of the School Day is a Glasgow Poverty Leadership Panel project, funded by Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership, Glasgow Centre for Population Health and Glasgow City Council Education Services. It was inspired by the success of Poverty Proofing the School Day from Children North East.

Find further detail about the Cost of the School Day project.

Example 2 – Edinburgh

In Edinburgh, the child poverty rate matches the national average and affects one in five pupils. The ‘1 in 5’ project began in August 2015 and is centred on a programme of work to:

  • raise awareness and understanding of child poverty and its impact on educational outcomes
  • explore the cost of the school day
  • examine the impact of poverty-related stigma.

Read more about the Edinburgh 1 in 5 project.

Example 3 – Dumfries and Galloway

The Cost of the School Day (COTSD) took place over a three-month period from October-December 2015. The research was conducted across all four locality areas in both primary and secondary schools (all of which had varying degrees of deprivation and rurality) in order to gain an overview of the entire region. In total, 10 schools engaged with the process, equalling 224 children and young people, 28 members of teaching staff and 13 parents and carers. Further details of the methods used are included within the full report. This research piece has sought the same outcomes as the original Glasgow City Council commissioned Poverty Action Group to research but through the lens of young people, teachers and parents in Dumfries and Galloway.

What was the impact?

The impact of this project is described in the Cost of the School Day final report.