Uniform grants may halt poverty stigma

    A coalition of pressure groups has called on the government this
    week to order and fund councils to provide school uniform grants
    for poorer families.

    The call comes in a report which says poorer children risk
    falling behind with schoolwork or being stigmatised or bullied
    because their parents cannot afford uniforms or optional extras
    like school trips.

    The report, by Barnardo’s, One Parent Families and the Child
    Poverty Action Group, among others, says fewer and fewer councils
    are offering families help with the cost of uniforms and many
    parents are being forced into debt to afford them.

    Government figures for 2003 quoted in the report gave the
    average annual cost of a “free” secondary education at almost
    £1,000 and a primary education at well over £500.

    It also calls for all schools to have an equal opportunities
    policy to ensure that no child will be excluded from activities in
    school time because they can’t pay.


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