Posted: 16 July 2014

'I want greater acknowledgement about this issue'

This blog was written as part of The Children's Commission on Poverty. The commission was led by sixteen children aged 10-19 to uncover the true cost of school life for those living in poverty, through young eyes. Lauren was one of the commissioners who launched the report 'At what cost? Exposing the true cost of school'. 

I joined the commission in July 2013, after one of my teachers encouraged me to apply. She thought I would be a good panel member, as I had become interested in the topic of child poverty after studying for my citizenship GCSE. Our course was about local and national child poverty in the UK, and through it I gained a good understanding of the topic, and an interest in making a difference in this area.

The highlight of being on the commission so far has been going to the Houses of Parliament for the launch of our commission (CCP). Being inside the House of Commons was a very different experience that I enjoyed greatly, especially talking to MPs and people with an interest in what we are doing as part of the CCP.

Why we're investigating the cost of school and school uniforms

School has many hidden costs that people without children do not think about. Education is free in the UK, however there are still uniforms, materials, lunches and school trips we have to pay for. School uniforms especially can vary in price from school to school, depending on where you live in the UK. A uniform is usually required, however the price of a full uniform can be expensive. If uniform gets old or too small, and you cannot afford to buy a new one, it is easy to see how this can lead to bullying and singling children out as different.

Through running our inquiry, I want to gain greater acknowledgement from people in power, and also from the public, about this issue. Through asking questions of experts and MPs, I would like to find out what help the government and schools could give to children and families in poverty for paying for school. For example, one option could be offering grants to help families buy uniform and be able to pay for their school lunches. Also if schools could sell good quality second hand uniforms, or uniforms at a reduced price to families in need, that could really help. 

Overall, being a part of the panel has made me more confident in speaking out about what I believe. I really hope that by being part of the commission, we will make a real difference to children’s lives in the UK.

 read our report