Cost of the School Day

DRAFT Cost of the School Day Position Statement
Trinity High School, South Lanarkshire Council

At Trinity High School, we recognise the need to reduce the Cost of the School Day for all our pupils and particularly for our pupils who are already experiencing poverty. We examine the School Day through the following headings; Uniform, Travel, Learning, Friendship, School trips, Eating, Fun, Clubs and Home learning.

Uniform – Our current uniform is Trinity High School blazer and tie, black trousers/skirts, black jumper/cardigan, black shoes and white shirt. Families can purchase blazers from Academy Uniforms, East Kilbride We do not insist on badged sweatshirts
As a school, we support families who may experience difficulties in meeting the costs of the school uniform. Families can contact the SLT or PS and will be supported in a discreet and dignified way.

Travel – The majority of our children travel to school on foot. For those who live 2 miles or more away, the Local Authority provides transport for the majority. We are aware that this could mean some children are not able to attend after school clubs, we therefore ensure that we also have lunchtime activities. Barriers to attending Supported Study have been overcome by providing transport.

Pens and pencils can be provided, young people do not need to bring their own equipment. We currently have a procedure for young people to borrow equipment if they need it. Targeted support is provided for young people in receipt of free meals for example in Home Economics and Technical. Young people in receipt of Free School Meals are supported across all areas of the curriculum.

We teach young people about poverty related issues as part of PSH and at Assemblies where for example Respect for others; Financial Advice are taught and displaying posters and phone numbers for advice and support. The views of our young people and families on the Cost of the School Day, are important to us and we will be gathering these views on the cost of the school day.

School Trips
A range of trips are planned each year. The cost of trips for pupils varies according to destination and number involved. We try to reduce the cost by fundraising and assisted support. External funding is used where possible and targeted at those most in need.

Eating at school
As detailed in our Standards and Quality Report around 1/5 of our pupils are in receipt of Free School Meals. We are aware that there may be a stigma associated with a free lunch and we try to reduce this by use of cards and pin numbers. We estimate that approximately 80 % of pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals take up their entitlement. In order to increase that percentage we regularly check and update the names on the list to ensure accuracy and encourage uptake. For pupils/carers support is provided to complete the Application Form where required including access to IT where necessary.

Extracurricular Activities
Trinity High School recognises that events planned for enjoyment can actually put added pressure onto families. We monitor carefully attendance and participation in these events in order to see if there are any poverty-related patterns that require action. Identified pupils are given free access or are supported to take part in various events. As with school trips, various events are planned and spaced out over the years. When young people cannot afford to take part in any activity we consider how we might be able to help and support. We currently fundraise by many means as we understand that not all families are able to contribute. We have two significant fund raising activities (the Christmas Fayre and the Annual Quiz) led by the PTA.

School Clubs
At Trinity High School, we have around 120 clubs or activities. In some circumstances a small charge may be applied. For children who receive Free School Meals, we reduce/negate the charge. Transport costs are also subsidised.

Home Learning
We try to reduce the cost of learning at home as much as possible through the use of Google Classrooms and internet options.
We are very clear that the Cost of the School Day is an area that requires constant vigilance and will not be ‘fixed’ by any one action. Many actions are taken to reduce the Cost of the School Day in a discreet way. In our Improvement Plan for 2019/20 we will be focusing on:

  • Placing this paper and a ‘Managing Poverty and the Cost of the School Day’ on the school Website
  • Continue to support fundraising activities to subsidise trips and activities
  • Operate a Uniform Bank comprising of Blazers, Ties, Shirts, Blouses, Skirts and Trousers
  • Allocate a ‘Common Fund’ as part of PEF, which can be accessed by staff on behalf of pupils who may face challenges in meeting curriculum related costs. This will be targeted at those most in need in an effort to poverty proof access to the curriculum.
  • This draft statement will be replaced by June 2020 with a School Policy on Cost of the School Day and is constantly under scrutiny. Please note also the paper on “Managing poverty and the Cost of the School Day”

The Impact of Poverty and Managing the Costs of the School Day

More than 1 in 4 children across Scotland are officially recognised as living in poverty. Consequently, Trinity High School continues to monitor the resources pupils need for school and the cost of the school day. The purpose of this is to ensure that pupils are not at risk of missing out on opportunities nor feel in any way disadvantaged, excluded or unhappy. Staff are sensitive to the issues and challenges that low income families face. All staff are reminded to be aware of ‘hidden poverty’. Parents are encouraged to inform Pupil Support Staff and the SLT if they are experiencing financial difficulty in any matter relating to the school.

Key Principles:

  • To poverty-proof access to the curriculum.
  • To mitigate against the effects of the costs of the school day by active intervention.
  • To ensure that no pupil’s access to school life is determined by, nor precluded by, poverty/low income.

Examples of Direct Intervention:

  • Support with the provision of uniform including blazers, trousers, shirts, blouses, skirts and all types of PE Kit.
  • Toiletries.
  • Subsidised trips/visits of a curricular nature including supporting pupils who might otherwise not be able to attend.
  • Breakfast/Lunches.
  • Free access to a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
  • Transport for Supported Study.
  • If representing the school at extracurricular activities, all clubs pay a flat fee of £1 towards transport costs
  • Recycling school ties and blazers and recycling Prom Dresses, Prom Shoes and so on.
  • Operating a Uniform Bank to provide blazers, blouses, shirts, trousers and jumpers.
  • Provision of support for identified, selected curricular costs.
  • One off costs to enable access to the curriculum.
  • Lunchtime printing available in the Library and in Business Education.
  • Art/HE/Technical open at lunchtime for completion of craft based homework.
  • Foodbank referrals and SVDP referrals.
  • Fun events have a flat fee and pupils who cannot afford it are given free entry.

Staff are also involved in:

  • Monitoring the overall wellbeing of all pupils.
  • Promoting Clothing Grants/ Free School Meals and EMA to Parents & Pupils.
  • Monitoring the Cashless System to check and promote Free School Meals and support the completion of the FSM forms
  • Parent Council and some partners support a Hardship Fund.
  • Donating to the three local food banks.
  • The provision of two Breakfast Clubs and Christmas hampers to identified individuals.
  • The provision of IT.

Next Steps:

  • All staff should be aware of the potential impact of poverty or low income on every pupil’s educational experience.
  • Pupils/parents/carers are asked to let staff know if they are experiencing difficulty in financing aspects of the school day if the challenge is transient or recurrent or persistent.
  • Parents/carers who find themselves unable to financially support their children for whatever the reason are asked to contact their child’s Pupil Support Teacher, in strictest confidence, with a view to enabling all pupils to receive their entitlement to as full and as enriching a school experience as possible.
  • Increase poverty awareness among all young people.

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