A re-elected SNP Government will abolish charges for practical subjects in school, ensure families affected by poverty are exempt from the cost of school trips and increase the value of uniform grants from £100 to £120 in Primary School and £150 in Secondary School.
Education Secretary John Swinney confirmed that an SNP government will end the practice - common in practical subjects such as art and design, music, home economics, hospitality and technology - of pupils having to pay for materials or provide their own.
Furthermore, an SNP Government will exempt less-well off families from the cost of trips and activities, so that all pupils can participate, including P7 residential trips and at least one optional secondary school trip.
The school clothing grant, which Mr Swinney will increase by 20% and 50% respectively, will be linked to inflation and reviewed to ensure it meets the real costs faced by families. The use of exclusive branded retailers - which often leads to higher costs for families - will no longer be permitted.
The announcements complete a manifesto package, to be unveiled later this week, aimed at reducing the cost of the school day. This also includes free school breakfast and lunch for all primary school pupils and universal provision of an age-appropriate laptop, Chromebook or tablet for all school pupils.
Mr Swinney said:
“Our goal is to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up for every child. That’s why the SNP has invested enormously in Early Years - from the Baby Box to the transformational increase in childcare provision seen in recent years. “The pandemic has been tough for everyone, and particularly so for younger people. By reducing the cost of the school day, we will make a real difference to the lives of children from low-income families.”
Kenneth Gibson added:
“No child across North Ayrshire or Scotland should struggle to learn or miss out on a positive school experience because of poverty.
“I am proud of the headway our SNP Government has made over the past five years and excited about the policies announced today, which will help every child in Scotland optimise their school experience and maximise their potential.
“One doesn’t have to experience poverty directly to recognise the fairness and desirability of these policies to help children.
“If we want our new government to continue implementing policies that give every child the best start in life, don’t gamble with your Regional List vote. The only way to secure an SNP Government is #BothVotesSNP.”