Affordable Schools

Providing an affordable for all place for pupils is important and can improve health and wellbeing and reduce stigma and bullying. Schools are in an ideal position to reduce costs for families, be it reducing the costs of trips, running a second-hand uniform bank, increasing the uptake of Free School Meals, etc.  

  • Reducing the costs of a school day is important because:
  • There were 4.2 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2021-22.(1) That's 29% of children, or nine in a classroom of 30.(2)
  • Children who have lived in  poverty during their first seven years have cognitive development scores on average 20% below those of children who have never experienced poverty.
  • 41% of children receiving free school meals obtained good English and Maths GCSE results, compared with 69% of other children.(3)
  • Locally, in Swindon, the numbers of children living in relatively low income has risen from 6,743 in 2016/17 to 9,178 in 2021/22. The numbers of children living in absolute low in come has risen from 5,913 to 7,091 in 2021/22. This is higher than the South West average.(4) Definitions of relatively and absolutely low income are available on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website. 

This page offers resources for Swindon schools for providing affordable environments for all pupils. 

Recording and presentations from the network meeting of 23 May 2024

Affordable schools and cost of living update presentation

St Joseph's Catholic College case study presentation

Swindon Holiday Activities and Food Programme

Resources and guidance for schools

Swindon affordable primary schools checklist

Swindon affordable secondary schools checklist

Statutory Guidance: Cost of School Uniforms

Child Poverty Action Group: Free School Uniforms Guide

Child Poverty Action Group: Turning the page on child poverty: A practical guide for education staff to help tackle poverty and the cost of the school day

Child Poverty Action Group: Cost of the School Day Calendar and Resources

Child Poverty Action Group Further Resources and Support January 2024 

School/colleges with pupil premium students who do not have footwear not suitable for everyday wear can contact Shoe Aid for support as they can provide footwear:

Words that Count free financial workshops for secondary school pupils:

Support and services for pupils and families

Free School Meals: Free school meals | Swindon Borough Council

Feeding Swindon Addressing the Cost of Living Padlet contains a directory of support available for families: Addressing the Cost of Living (

School Uniform Swap Shop (Swindon): Access the Group via Facebook here

Healthy Start digital cards and vitamins for eligible families with younger siblings under 4: Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)



  • 1 Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2021/22, Table 1.4b. Department for Work and Pensions, 2023
  • 2.Households Below Average Income, Statistics on the number and percentage of people living in low income households for financial years 1994/95 to 2021/22, Table 1.4a. Department for Work and Pensions, 2023
  • 3.C Farquharson, S McNally and I Tahir, ‘Education inequalities’, IFS Deaton Review of Inequalities, 2022
  • 4  DWP data (2023). Provided by LG Inform

Uniform Saver

Starting the new year can be daunting for families, especially with the costs of uniforms and summer holidays. Acorn Community Bank’s Uniform Saver aims to help parents and carers to start saving early for school supplies shopping in September 2024. Save a fixed amount of £5 per month from February to July 2024, and they will add a £20 bonus on top of these savings. For more details, please visit Uniform Saver - Acorn Community Bank

Uniform Saver

Swindon Affordable Food Club Information and Posters

The Swindon Night Shelter, are providing local pantries enabling household to access to nutritious food for a fraction of what these items would cost at a supermarket (2/3 cheaper than the supermarket or
more!). They can pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, salad, bread, cake, chilled and a frozen item (depending on availability) for free. All they need to do is pay the six-month membership fee and enabling them to exchange cash for points if they would like to, for all the other subsidised items.

Please find below the following posters and leaflets for the following pantry points in Swindon:

Chippenham Close community centre, Chippenham Close, Penhill SN2 5DB

Penhill Pantry AFC Leaflet 2024

Penhill Pantry Food Poster 2024

Park North Village Hall, Lyndhurst Crescent, Park North, Swindon

Parks Pantry AFC Leaflet 2024

Parks Pantry Food Poster 2024

The Haven, Queens Drive, Swindon SN3

Haven Pantry Food Poster 2024

Haven Pantry Leaflet AFC 2024