Pupil access to school trips would be significantly boosted under plans announced by the SNP and Greens.

Ahead of the Holyrood election, both parties have unveiled pledges aimed at making it easier for children and young people to take part.

It comes after opportunities were closed down over the last 12 months due to Covid-19.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will today say every pupil should be able to participate fully in activities, including P7 residential trips and at least one optional secondary school outing.

He will stress children should not miss out simply because their parents cannot afford to pay and is also due to announce SNP plans to exempt less well-off families from the costs.

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The plans are among a package of measures set to be outlined by the Education Secretary.

As part of efforts to make the school day less expensive, he will confirm an SNP government would end the practice – common in subjects such as art and design, music and home economics – of pupils being expected to pay fees for materials or provide their own.

He is also due to announce that grants towards school uniform costs for poorer families will increase from the £100 minimum to £120 in primary and £150 in secondary school.

Payments will be linked to inflation and reviewed to ensure they alleviate the real financial pressures faced by families.

HeraldScotland: Education Secretary John Swinney.Education Secretary John Swinney.

The use of exclusive branded retailers will be banned.

Making the announcement during a scheduled visit to Perthshire, Mr Swinney is expected to say: “Our goal is to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up for every child.

“That’s why the SNP has invested enormously in early years – from the baby box to the transformational increase in childcare provision seen in recent years.

“It’s why we’re extending free school meals to ensure that no child is forced to try and learn while hungry.

“And it’s why we are going to give every pupil the device they need – so they can learn in the modern world.

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“But we know that some families are sacrificing essentials like heating, food and rent payments so that their children can participate fully at school. This is simply unacceptable.

“If we are re-elected, charges for practical subjects in school will be abolished, poorer families will be exempt from the cost of school trips and the value of uniform grants will be increased.”

He will add: “The pandemic has been tough for everyone, but particularly so for the younger generations, and by reducing cost of the school day, we will make a real difference in the lives of children from low-income families.

“In a country as wealthy as Scotland, no pupil should struggle to learn because of poverty.

“And by giving both votes to the SNP on May 6, people can elect a government which is absolutely committed to tearing down the barriers to education that still exist.”

HeraldScotland: Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens.Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens have unveiled proposals to guarantee every pupil at least one residential trip during their time at both primary and secondary schools.

The proposal would also establish a support fund to ensure low-income families are not excluded on grounds of cost. It comes after the submission of evidence to Parliament that indicates many children miss out on trips due to the expense.

“It’s really important to get kids outdoors again at every opportunity and as soon as possible, now we’re beginning to leave the pandemic behind us,” said Ross Greer, education spokesman for the Greens.

“We know these trips are massively beneficial to their development, helping to hone social and problem solving skills, build friendships and cement an appreciation for our natural world.

“Every child should have that opportunity.”

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The Greens have also announced that they want to ban homework in Scottish primary schools.

The party said the proposed measure was aimed at giving children more time to play and socialise after lockdown deprived them of vital opportunities for interacting with peers.

It also pointed to research showing that, rather than improving attainment, homework can often have a harmful effect on a younger pupil’s attitude to learning.