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The influence of poverty on children’s school experiences: pupils’ perspectives

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This study examined the potential influence of policies and practices on the ability of children from low-income families to participate fully in the school day. Pupils from six schools participated in 71 focus groups and revealed a range of barriers affecting their school experience: transport costs and limited support; clothing costs, stigma and enforcement of school dress codes; material barriers to learning at school and home; concerns about free school meals; missing out on school trips, clubs and events.
Findings on school uniform were an important catalyst towards a recent policy change in Scotland in increasing the school clothing grant.
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Keywords: attainment; barriers; children; poverty; school experiences

Affiliations: 1: Glasgow Centre for Population Health, Glasgow, Scotland 2: School of Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland 3: Child Poverty Action Group, Glasgow, Scotland

Appeared or available online: September 5, 2019

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