Tackling inequality through school summer holidays

Date: 9th August 2016
Category: Child poverty

Children in Scotland set up the Food, Families, Futures (FFF) programme at two Glasgow primary schools over the month of July. The scheme aims to tackle holiday hunger and reduce the educational attainment gap.

Food, Families, Futures Programme

Children in Scotland is leading a project to address a major social issue: food poverty and its links with wellbeing, learning and attainment. The programme initially focused on two communities with significant levels of child poverty - Ibrox and Dalmarnock in Glasgow.

Children in Scotland is leading the project as charity partner of Business in the Community Scotland (BITC Scotland), alongside UK food supply company Brakes, with funding from the People's Postcode Lottery.

In Glasgow 38.8% of primary school pupils, and 29.8% of secondary pupils, are currently in receipt of free school meals (FSM), according to the Cost of School Holidays Literature Review (2015).

Ibrox and Dalmarnock have two of the highest rates of FSM entitlement in Scotland. National food supplier Brakes, Children in Scotland's corporate associate member, will be leading the provision of food in Ibrox and Irvine. With Children in Scotland, BITC Scotland and Brakes collaborating, the project combines the knowledge, expertise, values and networks of the third sector, business and industry respectively.

The activities in schools formally started in July 2016

Campaigners have said that the FFF project which consists of free children's clubs in empty schools over the summer holidays, could play a 'key role' in tackling inequality. The scheme has enjoyed success in Ibrox and Dalmarnock this summer.

Children in Scotland said the scheme has been "overwhelmingly popular" with local families, and it could help tackle inequality and reduce Scotland's attainment gap if it is expanded.

As well as providing lunches, the projects gave local youngsters the chance to take part in a range of activities. A total of 80 children applied for 50 places at the Dalmarnock Primary scheme, with 60 registering for 40 places at Ibrox Primary.

Jackie Brock, chief executive of Children in Scotland, said:

"For some families, particularly those who receive free school meals, the school holidays can be a struggle. It's not just the inevitable increase in the food bill but the pressures associated with finding appropriate childcare and activities for their children.

These are all issues that exacerbate inequality. Schools are already at the heart of their communities and at the heart of supporting local families. This year, they have remained open and continued this right through the summer holidays.

"We believe keeping more schools open, free of charge, during the holidays could play a key role in tackling Scotland's inequality challenge and be at the forefront of measures to reduce the attainment gap."