Parents, carers and Parent Councils

Involving parents, carers and Parent Councils in Cost of the School Day planning means identifying and tackling issues together. Parent Councils have a duty to act as the voice for all parents in their schools, and help to advise schools on their policies and plans. Parent Councils can play a key role in highlighting where costs are affecting parents and can work with their schools to make changes which will minimise the impact of costs.

What cost issues have parents highlighted?

Cost of the School Day research with parents and carers, led by Glasgow City HSCP, highlights the difficulties families face and the need for parents to be involved when decisions with cost implications are made.  

Costs for uniform, trips, resources and events place pressure on tight family budgets and cause anxiety.

"The blazer costs £95, the skirt costs £45 and you can not buy that blazer in any other shop, it's only one shop ... and I have two daughters, it's very expensive for me."

Short notice requests hit low-income families hard as they can't plan and budget for these costs - this can mean that children are unable to join in.

"We remind (the school) to send a text out and then the text you get is at half two- for the next day . . It's always at the last minute."

Parents can get into debt to protect their children from the stigma of being seen as poor

"You want them the same as everybody else, you don't want them different."

The Cost of the School Day Parent Council Toolkit

An online survey of Parent Councils in Glasgow found that over a third of respondents were not confident or only slightly confident about speaking to parents about costs. Parent Councils felt that they could better address the Cost of the School Day if they had some support to talk to other parents about cost, examples of good practice from other Parent Councils and information to give to parents about the financial support that was available to them.

In response, Glasgow Parent Councils' Forum, supported by Glasgow City HSCP, worked with us to develop a Cost of the School Day Parent Council toolkit for Glasgow which would help Parent Councils identify where costs are affecting low income families in their school, and consider simple actions to help poverty-proof their schools. The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) then carried out further discussions with parents in South Lanarkshire, Shetland and the Western Isles to add rural and island perspectives and practice to the toolkit.

This national resource is included in the Cost of the School Day Toolkit and can be used by any parents' group keen to ensure that their school is inclusive of families on low incomes. 

For more information, please get in touch: [email protected].