Cost of the School Day | CPAG

Cost of the School Day

breaking down the financial barriers to education

Talking about Costs and Money at School

Talking about costs and money at school can be difficult, but this animation and resource has lots of great practice and ideas from parents and carers to help schools get it right.

“If all of your friends or people you know go to the after school clubs, school trips, that kind of isolates you from them. You're singled out, you're not with them, just a spare person.

Boy, age 15


Cost of the School Day helps all children and young people to take part and be happy at school. We work with everyone to make sure money is never an issue.

Uniforms, trips, school lunches, gym kits, pencils and pens, and dress down days can be difficult to afford for low-income families. When children and young people can’t take part in opportunities because of cost, they miss out and feel excluded, and it is harder for them to learn, achieve and be happy at school. 

Illustration showing various school costs weighing on a child and parent


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Cost of the School Day Films

Find out how schools around Scotland are making Cost of the School Day changes.

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About our team

The Cost of the School Day team works across the UK including in Scotland, England and Wales.

The difference Cost of the School Day makes

Taking a Cost of the School Day approach helps schools to mitigate the effects of child poverty.

Cost of the School Day Resources

We provide a range of free resources for schools and local authorities who are trying to remove or reduce financial barriers to education.


Helping your whole school community to address the Cost of the School Day - the newly updated Toolkit includes lots of resources, information and great practice ideas.

What’s already happening

Just some of the great Cost of the School Day initiatives in schools.

Cost of the School Day podcast

Our newly launched Cost of the School Day podcast features short episodes where we share insights, ideas and inspiration to help schools tackle poverty in the classroom.

Cost of Learning in Lockdown

To understand how lockdown has impacted children’s experience of learning this year, our Cost of the School Day programme conducted some research through surveys and interviews.
Little girl in beaded dress

Local authorities taking the lead

What local authorities around Scotland are doing to address the Cost of the School Day.
Man and child

Parents, carers and Parent Councils

Working together to make a difference to the school day.
child on tricycle

reports and publications

Further reading about the Cost of the School Day.

Latest news

Time for Lunch: why children in poverty are currently denied free school meals

03 September 2021
For children living in poverty, school should be a place where they can access learning and essential opportunities in the same way as their peers. Free school meals should be available so children can eat during their school day without any worry and parents have one less thing to think about. That way, children can focus on learning, playing and fully participating in their education. Unfortunately, for more than a third of children in poverty in the UK, access to a free daily meal at school is denied.

Back to school – supporting pupils from low-income families in England

01 September 2021
For many pupils, families and school staff, excitement has been building for the start of the new school year. However, for some families experiencing poverty, this can be a time of anxiety. A time of increased costs as uniforms, PE kits, travel cards and stationery are needed. But there are some straightforward steps that schools can take to ensure that all families and children get off to a great start.

One million children in poverty miss out on free school meals in the UK

31 August 2021
A new report from Child Poverty Action Group and Covid Realities shows that 36% (about 1 million) of all school-aged children in poverty in the UK are not entitled to a free meal at school. The analysis shows that despite a rise in the number of children claiming FSMs between March 2020 and March 2021, restrictive eligibility criteria still prevent many in poverty from accessing any form of free school meal provision.