Poorer pupils forced to drop arts subjects due to the costs of studying

The Independent is reporting research into the impact of poverty in the classroom with suggests that pupils in state schools are having to ditch arts subjects at GCSE because they can no longer afford the cost of studying for them…

The study of 400 young people says more than one in four pupils on free school meals (27 per cent) have had to ditch subjects like art, music, photography and textiles because of the cost of equipment. Amongst other  children from low income families, one in seven said they were choosing their study options on the basis of cost.

“Subjects that require extra materials, especially art, photography, textiles, design and technology, were frequently cited as subjects that free school meals children felt they were unable to take,” says the report.

Those from poor families that did often ended up with lower grades because they had inferior equipment, it went on.

Children from poorer families were also less likely to be able to afford to go to after-school activities or clubs, largely as a result of transport cost…

The survey, carried out for the National Union of Teachers, the Child Poverty Action Group, the British Youth Council and Kids Company, also revealed 57 per cent of children from low income families were missing out on school trips. Even 28 per cent of those from better-off homes said they had missed at least one school trip a term because of the cost.

In addition, one in three children entitled to free school meals (35 per cent) said their families could not afford the full set of the school uniform, and one in five (21 per cent) reported not having the full set of books necessary for their studies.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the CPAG, said: “Poor children are being denied equal access to education with many now missing out on their choice of school subjects, school trips and finding school uniforms prohibitively expensive.”

More at: Poorer pupils forced to drop arts subjects due to the costs of studying

Do you see evidence of children being unable or unwilling to chose certain subjects – especially those in arts – because of the related equipment/materials costs? Are schools able to make provision for this and do they do so sufficiently? Please let us know if your/your child’s school has found a way round the problem…

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Categories: Secondary.


  1. kajstring24

    This is tragic. I’m convinced that instrumental lessons are vital to achieving a music GCSE, but the lessons are too expensive, even at half price for FSM families, they don’t want the expense. Awful.

  2. stevenmaxson

    SchoolsImprove Schools charging all parents for music lessons or compulsory arts materials are ignoring basic tenets of inclusive education

  3. arwenwhite

    SchoolsImprove Arts subjects should not be considered a ‘luxury’ – they are needed to help children develop their minds & sensibilities.

  4. julielomax5

    SchoolsImprove singing and recorder lessons should be funded by government so music can be accessed by all.

  5. zsharman

    stevenmaxson SchoolsImprove I would never charge for anything at my school – music and art is a right for all despite household means

  6. lovemyslk

    julielomax5 SchoolsImprove not all children want to play the recorder. We have 2 groups but only 20% of school take it up.

  7. SharonMcG1971

    miranda_thain amaenad I had to give up learning an instrument 30 yrs ago due to hire fees not affordable. Sad that nothing’s changed.

  8. miranda_thain

    SharonMcG1971 amaenad Think it did change & now sadly we’ve regressed as the arts is marginalised in schools & support has been withdrawn

  9. SharonMcG1971

    miranda_thain amaenad Indeed. And then poor people criticised for only being into “lowbrow” culture.

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