SCHOOLS in Inverclyde are to drastically cut back on charity fundraising in a bid to take pressure off hard-up parents.

In the first ever local action plan on child poverty of its kind, education bosses want to dramatically cut the cost of the school day.

The district has among the highest rates of families living in poverty in the country.

Addressing the cost of sending children to school is one of the flagship policies.

Head teachers will now look at a reducing support for charities, cutting back on the number of non-uniform days and no longer asking for set donations.

A report by Inverclyde health and social care partnership director Louise Long said: "Head teachers attended a workshop and Inverclyde child poverty event where there were presentations with regards to the cost of the school day and how schools can assist in reducing this.

"Whilst schools have implemented ways to assist with reducing the cost of the school day, further awareness is required for staff, pupils and parents/carers. "

Inverclyde will now train a local 'champion' to help primaries and secondaries to look at ways to take the pressure off parents.

Some of the ideas already in place include purchasing PE kits which are kept and laundered in school, to increase participation in sport.

Schools will be asked to look at introducing uniform swaps and banks as well as reducing the number of non-uniform days and charity fundraising.

There are also plans to look at how to offer financial support for school away trips to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to go.

The 'cost of the school day' has been included in a child poverty action report report put before councillors.

The foreword, written by the council's chief executive Aubrey Fawcett and senior health board official Jane Grant, vows to find new ways to improve the life chances of children.

It says: "Inverclyde is an area with many strengths and a great deal to be proud of, however there are communities where levels of poverty and inequality are disproportionately high.

"Too many children in Inverclyde are currently living in poverty and experiencing poorer outcomes as a result of this.

"Urgent action is needed now, both to help these children and to prevent future generations of children growing up in poverty."

In some areas of the district one in three children are living in poverty.

Other action points set out in the plan include continuing to run family hubs during the holidays.