Schools across Scotland are doing fantastic work to minimise costs and maximise opportunities for children from low-income households. We’ve gathered together examples of this practice, and found that good ideas can work well in a wide range of schools.
The cost of uniforms has been identified by many schools as problematic, so to counter this a number of schools:
- Removed the need for badged uniform.
- Improved the promotion of school clothing grants to parents and carers.
- Hold uniform recycling days.
- Sourced and recommend cheaper suppliers to parents and carers.
- Give the 'benefit of the doubt' when children or young people arrive at school uniform not wearing full uniform or suitable clothing. Schools have opted to explore this sensitively, rather than disciplining automatically.
To deal with a lack of resources for learning in school and at home, some schools now:
- Ensure that resources are on hand in class for everyone.
- Make sure that all teaching staff have consistent expectations around resources.
- Offer a wide range of study support sessions and homework clubs with access to Past Papers.
- Set homework that doesn't assume straightforward access to ICT at home.
When teaching staff have noticed that the uptake of Free School Meals, clothing grants and Educational Maintenance Allowance is an issue, some schools:
- Improved the distribution of application forms to parents and carers, and regularly repeat this throughout the year.
- Provided greater support for parents and carers to complete forms.
When children said that trips and fun events put them under pressure, several schools responded by:
- Starting ‘chuck it in a bucket’ fundraising rather than asking for set sums.
- Reviewing number of non-uniform days and weighing up benefits vs. potential risks to family budgets and children's attendance.
- Spacing trips and events out across the year with several weeks notice given.
- Organising supermarket bag packing sessions and other forms of fundraising which don't rely on families.
- Ensuring that Parent Councils are aware of the issues and plan so that discos and other events don't always cost money.
New - Cost of the School Day Practice Insight Series
The Practice Insight series focuses in more detail on how schools are addressing the Cost of the School Day. These papers bring together examples of practice in schools which help to reduce costs and support children and families affected by poverty.
Practice Insight 1 - School Uniform
Measures taken to reduce the high cost of school uniforms have been shown to reduce parental stress, and build stronger home-school relationships. The children and young people who have benefited from these changes feel less stigmatised, have an increased sense of belonging to the school community and improved participation at school.
There are a number of different way to approach this issue in an affordable and non-stigmatising way. Find out more about practice on school uniforms here in our Practice Insight 1: School Uniform.
For a Uniform Practice Case Study - Apparel XChange, click here.
Over the next few months we will be adding more papers to this series, which will look at the cost of learning at home, curriculum costs, travel to school, trips, fun events, clubs and activities, and attitudes to poverty and friendship. We will be releasing new information throughout the coming year and you can find out more about this via our e-newsletters, which you can subscribe to here.
There is also lots of great practice information and general guidance about how to start your school's Cost of the School Day journey in our Cost of the School Day Toolkit.
If you’ve tried something that has really made a difference to children and families on low incomes and you think other schools should hear about or try it then let us know about it either by completing the Cost of the School Day Practice Survey or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.