Emma Taylor, PT for PEF, supports a core group of young people in the school's Cost of the School Day pupil group and knows how crucial it is that the voices of young people inform this work.
“We have kids that are socially minded and it’s important because we are a rights respecting school, anything that we do that is just done to kids, it doesn’t work, we need to meet them on their level. We wanted to have people who could tell us their story and could act from their narrative.”
Post Covid, the school reconsulted on Cost of the School Day and got a core group of interested young people together to review the findings and put together a presentation for senior leaders to highlight what was working well in the school and what areas pupils felt needed to be addressed.
Emma says their priority was awareness raising amongst staff and tackling attitudes about poverty. They then engaged other pupils in a logo competition for their Cost of the School Day group. Delivered in PSE lessons, this helped to raise awareness of the group and allowed pupils to have good conversations about cost barriers.
“First thing we wanted to do was raise awareness and address stigma. It’s the casual stuff that we don’t realise we are doing, so it's important to target staff first so they can frame things properly.”
The group runs their Cost of the School Day social media which includes an Instagram page and TikTok videos highlighting all their approaches, including resources trollies, spare uniform, and access to digital support.
Pupils are now planning to deliver Cost of the School Day awareness raising sessions with their cluster Primary schools and work with Primary Pupil Councils to support action planning in their own schools. Emma says that::
"Working with our primaries is very important to us, the problem is so big by the time they get to us it has got to start early so they will have that support throughout their school career. It’s a community approach looking at how can we breed this culture throughout the whole cluster. Pupils are also designing lessons and plan to use the Cost of the School Day calendar to work through yearly costs and help pupils and staff to come up with alternative and affordable ways to run various school activities."