Extended schools could further exclude poorer families from
education by increasing the already significant costs of “free”
schooling, the Liberal Democrats’ education spokesperson has said,
writes Mithran Samuel from Blackpool.
However, speaking at a Citizens Advice fringe meeting at the
party’s annual conference in Blackpool, Ed Davey did not give
the Lib Dems’ backing to a campaign, involving the charity
and other groups, to remove financial barriers to poor children
participating in school activities.
Davey said he was “shocked” by figures showing that the annual
cost of a secondary education was almost £1,000 and a primary
education over £500, and evidence of a decline in local
authority school uniform grants.
He said: “Extended schools could push the costs up even more.
This is an issue that will not go away.”
But while he promised to consider the issue, he said: “I don’t
think my [shadow] Treasury colleagues would allow me to say [we
support] uniform grants all over the country.”
The coalition behind the campaign, which also includes
Barnardo’s and the Family Welfare Association, produced a report
this month calling for no child to be excluded from school
activities through an inability to pay and a statutory duty on
councils to provide uniform grants.