SCHOOLS have launched a plea for winter clothing to help keep Glasgow pupils warm during the cold months ahead.

The city has seen a 12.5% leap in the number of youngsters eligible for footwear and clothing grants since the start of the pandemic in March.

And now that government coronavirus guidance instructs teachers to keep windows and doors open for ventilation there are fears children's learning will suffer as they struggle against the cold.

There has also been an increase in outdoor lessons, meaning warm clothing is vital - but not all pupils have enough to keep them cosy.

Now the Glasgow Times has teamed up with the education department to ask our readers to donate good quality winter coats and jackets as well as warm hoodies and sweatshirts.

Our Keeping Warm In Glasgow campaign aims to help families in need during the coming months and ensure all pupils have an equal chance at school.

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education at Glasgow City Council said: “We know this is an anxious and worrying time for everyone and we wanted to do something to ease some of the burden on our families over the winter months ahead as we adhere to the current government advice and guidance to help suppress and reduce the spread of the virus.

“This includes more outdoor learning – something that Glasgow has been advocating for many years to boost health and wellbeing.

“But we recognise that our children and young people need to be warm and cosy so that they can concentrate on their learning – especially during our cold winter days.

Glasgow Times:

“We know that many of our families are experiencing hardships as a direct result of the ongoing pandemic.

"Our numbers for school clothing and footwear grants have risen – up from 32,000 in March this year to more than 36,000 this month."

Glasgow has around 80,000 children and young people with nearly 60% of the city's school pupils living in the 20% most deprived postcodes in Scotland and more than 40% living in the 10% most deprived postcodes.

Glasgow also has 23% of Scotland’s care experienced children and young people.

Many families across the city are experiencing increased hardship due to the global pandemic.

In March, there were around 32,000 children and young people registered as eligible for a footwear and clothing grant but by October this figure had increased to more than 36,000.

Scottish Government guidance for schools and nurseries stresses the importance of good ventilation so classroom doors should be kept open and at least one window to enable air to flow through.

Outdoor learning is actively promoted in all our schools and this year, more and more learning is taking place outdoors.

Physical education has only just been allowed indoors and it is recommended that wherever possible, physical education/activity should take place outdoors.

This means schools and nurseries can be draughty places and that children and young people need to wrap up warm as we move further into winter but many families cannot afford suitable clothing.

At St Roch's Primary School, in Royston, teaching staff have already set up a clothes sharing system and are supporting the Keep Warm in Glasgow campaign.

Head teacher Mary McNulty said: “We are all in this pandemic together.

“Our families are proud but they also support one another and we have been operating an ‘upcycling uniform shop’ for a number of years that works extremely well.

“Children grow at such a rate that the clothes don’t always have a chance to get done – so why would you not pass them on to each other?

“Our children are out in all weathers because we know the benefits this can bring to learning and this year we will take this further in light of the advice and guidance to help keep schools open.

“Our children and young people can’t lose any more time away from the classroom and our families know this so let’s all support one another and we will hopefully be looking forward to a time when we can look back and reflect on the community spirit that got us through the worst of the pandemic.”

Glasgow Life is also backing the campaign by allowing clothing to be handed in at its community centres and The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane in the city centre.

Community centres taking part include: Barlanark, Castlemilk, Bellcraig, Darnley, Govanhill, Maryhill, Possilpoint, Penilee and Ruchazie.

Donations should be of good quality and self-coloured warm hoodies and sweatshirts will be matched as closely as possible to a school's uniform.

Glasgow Times:

Items will be brought from community centres to The Lighthouse to be checked by volunteers and then dispersed to schools in a different area to where they were donated.

Maureen added: “When we were planning for the schools returning we focused on the 3Rs – recovery, resilience and re-connection – and now through Keeping Warm in Glasgow we want to also look at another set of 3Rs – reuse, reduce and recycle.

“Our campaign is about donating good quality winter jackets and coats and warm hoodies – new/nearly new or clothes that children and young people have grown out of – but in perfectly good order for someone else to benefit from.

“This is the perfect opportunity to have a good clear out and help others into the bargain – and it could not be easier.

“We’ve joined forces with the Glasgow Times and our colleagues at Glasgow Life so that there’s a community centre drop off in most local areas and also a city centre location at The Lighthouse in Mitchell Lane.

“Please join us to help Keep Warm in Glasgow this winter.”