This website is now part of Public Health Scotland. Publications released after 16 March 2020 are now published on the Public Health Scotland website.
Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Cost of school

On the face of it education in Scotland is free, but there are often hidden or extra costs that can act as a barrier to participation in school.

Whilst schools can’t eradicate child poverty alone, many are removing or reducing school costs. This is helping to mitigate the impact of the inequality in health, wellbeing and learning outcomes being experienced by our children.

Here you can find a film and accompanying toolkit to raise awareness of, support discussion about and inform action on removing the cost barriers of school. You will also find information about our work on the provision of universal free school meals for primary children one to three.

If you are part of a local authority or NHS Board, this information could be of uses when creating your local child poverty action reports.

Addressing child poverty at local authority and school level

The Cost of School film explains why addressing child poverty in schools is important. It also shares insights, approaches and tools to support low cost and low resource solutions at both local authority and school level.

Watch the trailer and then full length film below, or go directly to the full length film on YouTube (external site)

Cost of the school day toolkit

Complimentary to the Cost of School film, a cost of the school day toolkit has been created by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Scotland.

It supports consultation on costs and financial barriers with

  • education staff
  • children
  • families.

It also supports the development of interventions to

  • reduce cost
  • increase participation
  • minimise income stigma
  • support families.

The toolkit contains the following to facilitate discussion and action

  • discussion prompts
  • images
  • audit tools
  • surveys
  • session plans
  • case studies.

Free school meals

In January 2015 the Scottish Government introduced universal free school meals (UFSM) for all children in primary one to three.

We are leading the evaluation of this alongside colleagues from the

You can find more information about this within our UFSM evaluations and briefing papers.