Does being less well off affect your child's education, Plymouth councillors ask
CITY councillors are to examine how the Government's welfare reforms are affecting education.
Plymouth City Council has said its 'Ambitions Plymouth' group will investigate the impact of the reforms on wealth, and how parents or carers can afford to help with educational activities.
Questions over the costs of school uniforms, proms, school trips, activity weeks will be among the many areas they will examine.
The group, led by Councillor Sally Bowie, will look at the educational achievements of children in care and those eligible for free school meals, compared to other children in mainstream education to see whether their social position is a barrier to achievement.
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The work will be known as 'Narrowing the gap in schools co-operative review' and will also examine what issues affect the performance of the children of Service families.
Cllr Bowie said: "Sending a child to school can be very costly nowadays.
"As well as uniforms and lunch arrangements, parents must also pay out for things such as school trips, non-school uniform days and proms.
"It's a financial burden that many simply cannot afford, particularly in light of the Government's welfare reform, which is squeezing family finances to their limits.
"The question then follows, if parents cannot afford for their children to be involved in these extra activities, what impact does that have on them?
"Our review will examine educational attainment linked to different social groups to determine whether there is a problem and if so, how we can best tackle it as a city."
The review will hear from a number of expert witnesses and receive evidence including: free schools meals statistics for eligibility and take-up, pupil attainment according to different social groups and pupil premium funding and spending.
The panel will also visit two city schools to talk to pupils and understand their views.
A report detailing the findings and recommendations will be presented at the panel in December this year and is expected to go to Cabinet for agreement in the New Year.