Poorest families struggling to afford school uniform

Poorest families struggling to afford school uniform 8963312

DISADVANTAGED families are struggling to pay for school uniforms and trips, new research shows.

A study by academics at Stirling University found low income families who were working were some of the hardest hit because they were not eligible for support grants.

The report also highlighted councils who were making it hard for families to access clothing grants with one Local authority asking applicants to fill out a 16 page form.

The Scottish Government has already said it plans to spend £750 million between 2016 and 2021 to tackle the impact of poverty on education in schools.

However, while school trips are subsidised for those on out-of-work benefits, there is no subsidy for those receiving at-work benefits.

School uniform costs are covered through clothing grants, but analysis suggests low-income families in work are not getting support.

Dr Morag Treanor, the author of the report, argued that although progress has been made in tackling poverty in education, there are still challenges facing poorer families.

She said: “There is much that has been done to facilitate poorer children’s participation in school-related activities; however, there is more that can be done.

“Research shows that children are acutely aware of the deprivations they experience in relation to school.

“The research shows that parents are also aware of children’s school-related privations and do their best to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts.”

The report recommended Local authorities impose a maximum limit for the cost of school trips, issue guidance to schools encouraging them to allow more time for paying for activities and use dedicated funds to ensure inclusion of all pupils in school trips and activities.

It also suggests teachers be offered training on the nature, causes and consequences of poverty and called for the practice of withholding clothing grants from pupils on an Educational Maintenance Allowance to be stopped.

Iain Gray, education spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party, welcomed the report.

He said: “Wealth should not be a barrier to education and that is why this research is particularly troubling.

“School uniforms and trips can be costly and it is important grants are regularly reviewed.”

Source : HeraldScotland

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