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

Cost of the School Day calendar 2021-22

The Cost of the School Day calendar aims to help schools identify possible cost barriers during the academic year and think about some alternatives to make sure all children and young people can fully participate in education. Throughout the calendar, we’ve included ideas and good practice examples from schools across England, Scotland and Wales who have taken part in the Cost of the School Day project.

Challenge Poverty Week guest blog: Reducing the Cost of the School Day with #YSAttain

06 October 2021
At the Cost of the School Day project we know that costs throughout the school day can pile pressure on families and affect young people’s participation, learning and wellbeing. This Challenge Poverty Week, we hear from our partners at Young Scot about how their #YSAttain project is helping young people take part and saving their families money.

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.