Anti-poverty campaigner Brian Scott spoke about the “underlying discrimination” which can leave parents feeling “a sense of failure” and “embarrassed”.
He made the comments as a headteacher from one of Scotland’s most deprived primary schools told how learning could be impacted as poverty has limited the experiences of some youngsters.
Nancy Clunie, head teacher at Dalmarnock Primary School in Glasgow, recalled how 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, told MSPs on Holyrood’s Education Committee that strains on family finances meant children’s experiences were “much more limited”.
She 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 went straight upstairs and we booked a bus, and we took the kids. It was 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.”