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Parents hit out at Tipton school for 'separating the rich from the poor’

By Luke Bartlett | Tipton | News | Published:

Parents have hit out after a school council scheme set up to see each child pay £6 for new sports equipment has ‘separated the rich from the poor’.

Wednesbury Oak Academy where some parents say they have been angered at being asked to pay for some play equipment

Bosses at Wednesbury Oak Academy in Tipton have been criticised after it was reported children whose parents had not paid the voluntary fee were not allowed to use the equipment.

But principal, Maria Bull, has defended the move – saying parents have had since May last year to make the payment with 80 out of the academy’s 450 pupils having contributed to the ‘extra’ equipment.

Mother-of-two Kirsty Williams, aged 28, said: “We were asked to make the payment before Christmas but it was voluntary.

“It was a voluntary payment for sports equipment even though they had £9,000 for equipment.

“It is bullying really – they are separating the rich from the poor.”

Also unhappy, a mother-of-three, who wished to remain anonymous, branded the move ‘disgusting’.

She said: “I’m a parent and I found it really disgusting what’s going on.

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“If you don’t pay the £6 the other kids can’t play with the equipment.

“We have to pay £6 a year, it’s per child, I don’t think this is fair.

“That is £18 that could go towards the uniforms."

Discrimination

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She continued: “Its discrimination against the other kids, I don’t think it is fair especially the way they treated some of the kids.

“Most of them came out crying the other day – they were saying ‘mom I have got to pay this’. I want them to stop being selfish to all the kids.”

But the headteacher has defended the move, stating the school was ‘outstanding’ and that the new equipment was being run as an ‘extra’.

Principal of the school in Greenacre Road, Mrs Bull, said: “This is a parent council initiative and the parent council came up with this way back in May 2017.

“It was shared with the parents via our newsletter – we then shared it again back in October time because we had very few voluntary payments.

“We currently have 80 children whose parents have made this payment out of 450.

“To be fair the parents have had since May so as I say, they are running this for the 80 children concerned.

“It is not like the children haven’t got other equipment on the play ground.

“It is being run as an extra, just like we ran extra activities, we run school discos as extra activities, we run all of this as a voluntary basis.” Mrs Bull added: “To be fair we are a school that bends over backwards for our parents.

“The equipment is things like extra bats and balls, footballs, normal run of the mill stuff.

“The initial feedback we got was not that they couldn’t afford it, it was them saying they didn’t know.

“I have been at the academy since 2006, we regularly bring in equipment – we are an outstanding school.”

Luke Bartlett

By Luke Bartlett
Trainee Reporter - @lbartlett_star

Trainee Express & Star reporter covering Dudley and Sandwell. Get in touch on 01902 319445 or via luke.bartlett@expressandstar.co.uk.

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