Expensive trips, costly music and arts classes, stigma about clothes and mobile phones, barriers to school food – a report has laid bare how poverty is impeding children’s access to education.

The research involves 4,600 pupils, 840 parents/carers and 420 members of school staff and focuses on the hidden costs of schooling in England.

The Cost of the School Day in England: Pupils’ perspectives has been published by Child Poverty Action Group and Children North East and is based on the charities’ Cost of the School Day project.

Government figures from 2021 show that there were 4.3 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2019/20 – which is 31% of children. And 75% of these children are in a household where at least one person works.

The research involved primary and secondary schools in London and the Midlands, and it identifies and breaks-down some of the key barriers to education for those in poverty. Findings include:

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