PUPILS from some of Scotland’s most deprived urban communities have never seen the sea or been to a farm.

A headteacher from a primary school serving one of Glasgow’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods said the limited experiences of some pupils had a significant impact on their education.

Nancy Clunie, headteacher at Dalmarnock Primary School, in the city’s east end, revealed the concerns at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s education committee - which is investigating the impact of poverty on attainment.

Read more: Worrying that children have missed vital outdoor experiences

She recalled a situation last year when she organised a school outing after a primary seven pupil told her he had never seen the sea.

Ms Clunie, who has 40 years experience in classrooms, said: “My children are being faced with texts talking about farms or the seaside and many of them have never experienced it.

“One wee boy in primary seven said to me last year ‘Miss Clunie, what is the sea?’ We booked a bus and we took the kids to Lunderston Bay.

“That’s the river, but for that child it was the sea, and for that child it might be the only chance he’s got.”

Ms Clunie went on to highlight the importance of trips where children “cuddled a bunny rabbit”, climbed a mountain or threw stones into the river.

She added: “It is these kind of things that are missing, but they are expected to know that when they are reading a text to understand things they have never experienced, and it is very difficult.”

The committee also heard that parents could feel like an “outcast” if they were unable to provide children with computers and tablets to help them do their homework.

Anti-poverty campaigner Brian Scott spoke about the “underlying discrimination” which can leave parents feeling “a sense of failure” and “embarrassed”.

Read more: Worrying that children have missed vital outdoor experiences

Mr Scott, commissioner for the Poverty Truth Commission, spoke about how some families were being left out because they could not afford computers or electronic tablets.

He said: “Some teachers assume all children have access to a computer, if they put activities online then they assume they can go home and have got tablets or phones.

“Most children do, but a few children don’t and they are left out and they are stigmatised.”

“We’re in the technical age, which is great if you can afford to take part in it, but if you don’t have the means you sometimes feel like an outcast because you are outside the system everyone else has access to and that is a source of stigmatisation and a source of embarrassment.”

Satwat Rehman, director of One Parent Families Scotland, highlighted Westminster welfare reforms as one of the causes of poverty.

Ms Rehman added that schools and others were trying to deal with its impact at the same time as problems were increasing.

She also cited the increase in casual employment and the growth of zero hours contracts as other factors.

Almost two-fifths of children living in Scotland are in single-parent families, she said, claiming that the Equality and Human Rights Commission had warned single parents could lose a fifth of their income by 2021 as a result of benefits changes.

“We’re looking at how we’re going to address a poverty-related attainment gap at a time when poverty is projected to increase,” she said.