For 18 months a group of children investigated how poverty affects children at school

The Children's Commission on Poverty

Several members of The Children's Commission on Poverty

There are 4 million children in poverty in the UK today, but their voices are largely absent from the debate. To enable children in this country to speak out comprehensively about poverty for the first time, we set up The Children’s Commission on Poverty.

Sixteen children aged 10-19 from across the country came together to run a comprehensive inquiry into the costs of school. In addition to other work, they led a year-long investigation, inquiry and report exposing the reality of school life for children in poverty.

India, one of the young commissioners, said: ‘As a young commissioner, I was surprised to find out what getting everything together for school actually costs. We always think education is cheap or free.’

The commission's reports

You can read about the young commissioners’ research and recommendations in more detail in their full reports:

The young commissioners led a session at the Houses of Parliament, launching the report. You can watch the launch of the At what cost? report

Blogs by the young commissioners

The young commissioners shared their views and experiences throughout their inquiry into the impact of poverty on school life. Read some of their blog posts from their time on the commission.

Yousif's blog post: ‘We cannot have an unequal school life for children just because they can’t afford to pay for the terribly overpriced uniform’.

Jess's blog post: 'There needs to be a stop to children being sent home for wearing the wrong school uniform'.

Luke’s blog post: 'If a child is hungry it can affect their education'.

Gulwali’s blog post: 'There is an assumption that poverty ends at school- but that’s not the case'.

Cyrus' blog post: 'If you don't have the right materials to learn, you can miss out on an education'. 

Lauren's blog post: 'I want greater acknowledgment of this issue'.

Caitlin's blog post: 'I want to prove to people that poverty is a big issue in England'.

Media coverage

The Children’s Commission on Poverty attracted high profile media coverage as the young commissioners called for changes to make school life better for children in poverty. Read some of the highlights. 

Good Morning Britain: Do you struggle with school costs?

The Guardian:  Hidden costs of state schools causing hardship for millions.

Daily Mirror : Millions of British families struggling to meet hidden costs of state education.