Cost of the School Day Update

Cost of the School Day Update Image

Efforts in a range of Dundee primary and secondaries to reduce the cost of the school day for families and make activities more inclusive and affordable are highlighted in a new report.

The children and families services committee will hear on Monday January 24 of creative ways that schools look to tackle poverty.

Cost of the School Day Action Plans are now being carried forward in all Dundee schools after the initial project which ran with support from the Child Poverty Action Group and was a key recommendation of the Dundee Fairness Commission in 2016.

The ongoing initiatives that schools use to help families include cheaper uniform suppliers, more inclusive homework policies, greater consistency in lending resources, breakfast provision, free ‘ready to learn’ packs, non-stigmatising approaches to fundraising, trip subsidies, improved promotion of financial entitlements and many more.

Plans amount to over 200 interventions addressing cost barriers.

The committee will hear that the pandemic and the partial closure of schools in early 2021 led to an effort to ensure that all pupils were able to access learning.

Where IT was an issue some schools allowed families to borrow hardware whilst others distributed re-conditioned laptops and tablets.

Third sector partners supported in a similar way by donating tablets, laptops and data packages. If accessing IT was not possible, home learning packs were distributed by school staff. Regular food parcels were delivered where necessary while teachers and support staff maintained regular contact with families offering a variety of support.

Committee convener Councillor Stewart Hunter said: “We are determined to make Dundee a better city for all.

“The continuing work of cost of the school day plans in schools assists in tackling the financial barriers faced by many families in all areas of the city.

“There are many examples of pioneering work and the committee is being shown real examples from schools in different areas.

“We are under no illusions that this remains a huge task. But I am heartened by the creativity and dedication of staff who are making sure that pupils are not disadvantaged by financial barriers and can play a full part in school life.”

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