The Cost of Learning in Lockdown: family experiences of school closures
To understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted children’s experience of learning, we conducted some research through surveys and interviews with parents, carers, children and young people. We found that the cost burdens of school closures have fallen most heavily on families already living on a low income. For instance, one third of the families who are most worried about money have had to buy a laptop, tablet or other device.
Why address the Cost of the School Day?
“Education is free but a lot of school things are not.”
Families living on low incomes often struggle with the cost of the school day. Uniforms, trips, school lunches, gym kits, pencils and pens, and dress down days can be difficult or impossible to afford. When children and young people can’t take part in opportunities because of financial barriers, they not only miss out but feel different as a result, and it is harder for them to learn, achieve and be happy at school.
At the same time, we know that poverty has a ferocious and long lasting effect on children’s health and wellbeing, and affects their ability to learn. Children from low-income households are also more likely to report feeling useless and hopeless about their future. There is currently a significant and persistent gap in attainment between children from lower and higher income families, yet we know that if children can do well at school they can have better employment prospects. Education can represent a route out of poverty, but crucially only if children can fully access that education.
“Well I think 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
How does the Cost of the School Day project work?
The Cost of the School Day helps school communities identify and overcome cost barriers that shape and limit children’s opportunities at school. This project sees children, parents and school staff identify these cost barriers and take action to remove them. Read about some of the successes so far.
If we want to tackle poverty, every child from a low-income household must be able to make the most of the school day.
New Cost of the School Day Films
We've just launched our new films and information for school communities. Find out how schools around Scotland are making Cost of the School Day changes.
Working in partnership
The difference Cost of the School Day makes
Support, Advice and Training in Scotland
COST OF THE SCHOOL DAY TOOLKIT
Helping your school community to address the Cost of the School Day