Money matters for children's outcomes: focusing on income maximisation and financial entitlements in schools

Action to address the Cost of the School Day often focuses on minimising school costs. Alongside this, schools can play a crucial role in supporting families to access financial entitlements and maximise their incomes.       

Researchers from the London School of Economics recently re-examined whether money itself matters for children’s development. Their findings confirm that household income has a causal effect on children's outcomes, particularly cognitive development and school achievement, and that increased family income is associated with improvements in children’s outcomes.

If money, in itself, matters so much for children’s outcomes at school, how can we best support families to access the financial entitlements available to them and maximise their incomes?

Does money affect children's outcomes? LSE video

Case study 1: Raising awareness of parents’ welfare rights in Annette Street Primary School, Glasgow

Shirley Taylor, Head Teacher at Annette Street Primary School in Govanhill, Glasgow, reflects in this case study on the difference that partnership with local welfare rights agencies has made to families in the school who are now better able to access the financial entitlements and support they need.

Case study 2: Liam and his son

This case study, focusing on Liam and his son, shows the difference that receiving the correct benefits can make to a family. It is part of the Early Warning System research partnership between Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and Dr. Morag Treanor of the University of Edinburgh. 

Welfare reform and its effect on families

universal service full roll out mapRecent changes to the social security system have included a benefits freeze, removal of entitlements for third or additional children, further reductions in the benefit cap and increased conditions attached to receiving benefits. These changes are leading to reduced incomes for families across Scotland. In addition, sanctions, delays and mistakes are increasingly causing families to go for extended periods without income. 

One significant change currently taking place is the introduction of universal credit, the biggest change to our social security system in over sixty years.

Universal credit is currently being rolled out in stages across different local authorities in Scotland and its implementation poses a number of risks to low income families moving over to the new entitlement.

Click on the map to the right to check when the introduction of universal credit may be affecting families in your school. And, for more information on the impact that this may have, please check out this blog exploring what welfare reform means for families affected.

What can you do? Information, advice and training available for schools

Supporting Families Affected by Poverty, our new Cost of the School Day resource, offers practical steps schools can take to support families to access financial support available to them both at school and more widely

Find out more about our Income Maximisation and Promoting Financial Entitlements training, covering better promotion of financial entitlements (such as Free School Meals and clothing grants), understanding what help is available for families and developing referral pathways. Simply ensuring that a child receives Free School Meals can save a family £380 per year

Call the CPAG in Scotland Advice Line for free, independent, expert, up-to-date advice and information on all aspects of the benefits and tax credits system. We welcome enquiries from frontline staff of all levels of experience – no matter how simple or complex the question is. Phone 0141 552 0552, Monday to Thursday, 10am - 4pm, Friday 10am - 12 noon or email

"The advisers are always very knowledgeable and explain things in ways that are easy to understand. It's a great resource for us as front line staff knowing we can get accurate knowledge." (Caller feedback) 

For more information, please email or tweet us @CPAGScotland.