The Glasgow guidance sprung from a 2015 report, The Cost of the School Day, carried out in the city by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland.
Marion Fairweather, CPAG Cost of the School Day project manager, said that wider societal causes of poverty should not obscure that “there are lots of things that teachers can do” to alleviate its impact.
She told of one primary school where a parent had taken annual pupil and class photographs at a total cost of £200; previously, using a professional agency would cost each family around £40 for a standard set of photos.
Another school had relaxed its uniform rules so that families could shop in supermarkets rather than being forced to use specialist suppliers, which reduced costs by around a third.
She said last year’s survey had had a clear impact on teachers’ practice: “I think teachers felt they were doing a fairly good job and were mindful of the pressures on kids, but hearing about things like pupils not going to school on non-uniform days – that really made a huge difference to how they view poverty’s effects.”
One Glasgow headteacher told TESS that the research has had a big impact on her school.
Lesley Edgerton, headteacher at Caldercuilt Primary School, said: “We have looked at everything we do in the school that could be an additional cost to our families. This includes school trips, treats, Christmas pantomimes and. importantly, our homework policy.”
In the past year the school has hosted events and trips that “have not cost a penny to parents” by, for example, looking for local sponsors.
Ms Edgerton added: “We have overhauled our homework policy and now think before we ask children to make something or require to access the internet, as this might present a barrier to some families...It is the simple things that can be the most beneficial, and we will continue to make any changes we need to so that our children do not feel excluded.”