Last Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The 1 in 5 - Raising Awareness of Child Poverty Project in Edinburgh

What is this?

This exemplar captures work undertaken in Edinburgh City Council on the 1 in 5 project. It begun in August 2015 with a focus on a programme of work that aims to raise awareness and understanding of child poverty and its impact on educational outcomes.

Six pilot schools took part in the project, which involved running training and focus group sessions with staff, parents/carers, and children and young people in order to:

  • a) Raise awareness of the impact of stigmatisation on children living in poverty
  • b) Identify and understand the range of costs involved in the school day from different perspectives
  • c) Make recommendations and propose actions for schools to take forward.

Who is this for?

​Local authority officers, headteachers, leaders and practitioners in all education sectors

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice

This exemplar could be used by schools to promote professional discussion and inform planning on ‘poverty proofing’ the school day.

  • How well do staff know learners' context and background and the impact that these are likely to have on learning?
  • How do we ensure that there is an ethos and culture of inclusion and participation in our school?
  • To what extent do we participate in regular dialogue about the needs of the learners in our school and make adaptations to support these?


These documents were produced by the City of Edinburgh Council.

 Word file: 1 in 5 - Raising awareness of child poverty (1.65 MB)

PDF file: 1 in 5 - Raising awareness of child poverty - Top tips for schools (1.09 MB)

Explore this exemplar

What was done?

Six pilot schools, which represented a wide social mix, were selected to take part. The project had several different strands:

  • Awareness raising sessions were delivered to all staff, pupils and parents.  
  • Focus groups of staff were established to look in more depth at the actions and changes to be considered. 
  • Two competitions, focused on raising awareness of poverty, were run in the primary schools.
  • High school pupils were asked to make a short professional video about child poverty as part of a training pack for all Edinburgh schools.
  • Pupils from each school were asked for donations of books that could be distributed, via local networks, to children in low-income families.

Why was it done?

Over 20% of children in Edinburgh live in poverty and every ward in the city registers a child poverty rate of at least 10% after housing costs. The 1 in 5: Raising Awareness of Child Poverty in Edinburgh project was set up in response to this. It aimed to improve the understanding of the causes and impact of child poverty, and to begin to look at what changes schools could make to better support children from low-income families, especially in terms of reducing school-related costs.

What was the impact?

A large number of recommendations emerged from this work and the engagement with schools, parents and pupils which are outlined in the report. The 'Top Tips' leaflet was produced to provide a list of ideas for school staff to consider. The ideas emerged from the focus groups, in which over 1000 staff, parents and pupils participated, and have been sent to every teacher and early years practitioner in the city.

The 1 in 5: Raising Awareness of Child Poverty in Edinburgh project has proved to be both successful and influential. All the schools that took part in the initial phase have found it to be a very worthwhile piece of work, with some of the pilot schools stating that it has 'changed the culture' of their school.