Elgin conference to highlight the cost of the school day and impact it has on child poverty

The clock represents all of the different areas of the school day which CPAG research shows can cause difficulties for families on low incomes and create financial barriers for children and young people
The clock represents all of the different areas of the school day which CPAG research shows can cause difficulties for families on low incomes and create financial barriers for children and young people

A conference highlighting the costs underprivileged families can face putting their children to school is coming to Elgin for the first time.

The organisers aim to raise awareness of the detrimental effect an ordinary day at school can have on children whose families are struggling financially.

It is the first time an event of this kind has came to the region, with Moray Council and local school representatives invited along to find out more about the issue and detail what steps may have been taken to help mitigate the problem.


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The Cost of a School Day conference is being run by the Fairer Moray Forum in partnership with the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland and Poverty Alliance.

Mairi McCallum, project manager at Moray Foodbank, hopes that the conference will help lay the groundwork for provisions in the region to help combat child poverty.

She said: “The Fairer Moray Forum was set up to look at ways of addressing poverty in Moray; as part of this we became aware of the hidden costs of the school day beyond school lunches and uniforms.

“This can include things like school trips, activities, subject choices and social events.

“We will also be using the conference as an opportunity to set the scene locally and promote the good work already being done in local schools.

“We are hoping that representatives from schools and parent councils will take ideas from the day and introduce them into their schools.”

Statistics published last year by Moray Council revealed that 17.2% of children in the region were living in poverty.

CPAG worked in partnership with Dundee City Council in October last year on a similar scheme.

Project manager Sara Spencer highlighted some of the different ways the problem can be mitigated.

She said: “This project is all about helping children feel part of the school community and after speaking to kids, not having a proper uniform can cause issues with their peers and staff.

“The first step to solving this issue is schools having these conversations with the children and actions would depend on what the problems are.

“Schools could introduce a uniform policy, keep it as cheap as possible or they could set homework that kids can do without resources such as the internet.”

The conference will be held at Elgin High School on Tuesday, February 26 from 10am until 3.30pm and is free to attend, although tickets need to be printed from eventbrite.

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