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The Cornish Families Struggling To Afford School Costs

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10:20am 29th October 2014
(Updated 10:20am 29th October 2014)

More than 30, 000 Cornish families are struggling to afford the cost of going to school.

A new report has revealed the total spending for parents in the Duchy is almost £50 million.

Each family spends around £800 a year on classroom costs.

It is on stuff like uniforms, equipment, trips and meals.

Amy Gibbs is Head of Campaigns at the Children's Society who did the research.

She tells us it can have an emotional impact, she said: "If they miss out on certain courses or on trips, if they are going without a coat in the winter, they are often bullied or embarrassed, we heard examples of children who couldn't do their homework and were marked down because they didn't have a computer at home.

"Families are struggling already with rising fuel bills, they make impossible choices about whether to heat their homes or give their children a hot meal in the evening, and school costs on top of that are just proving to be really extortionate."

Cyrus is a young commissioner for the Children's Society, aged 14, he said: "As a young commissioner the thing that has stood out is how poverty isn't just a physical problem, but has a mental effect on children. Children are being treated differently if they are living in poverty. They are made to stand out. They don't have computers good enough to download the software they need to do homework. Some have stickers put on their books.

"If real change is to be made, schools need to be aware of poverty and its effects on children so they can support the child though the most important years of their life."

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children's Society, said: "Children are supposed to be benefiting equally from a free education. Yet the reality is that families in the South West are paying millions of pounds each year towards the cost of school. Children are being penalised and denied their right to an equal education simply because their parents cannot afford the basics. This is just not right.

"The Government needs to listen to this crucial report by young commissioners and act to make sure no child is stopped from getting an education equal to their peers. It must stop children from being made to suffer because they are living in poverty."

10:20am 29th October 2014

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