Tipton school U-turn over controversial parent payments 'separating rich from poor’
Governors at a Black Country school have made a dramatic u-turn – putting an end to an 'upsetting' playground scheme which has been blasted by parents for 'separating the rich from the poor'.
Bosses have ended the scheme at Wednesbury Oak Academy which encouraged parents to make a voluntary payment of £6 for extra school equipment.
It follows a backlash against the scheme which saw parents describe the move as 'separating the rich from the poor' – as pupils who did not make the payment were not allowed to use the equipment.
In a statement, the school's chair of governors said: "We have listened to the concerns raised and will be ending the scheme with immediate effect.
"We are a school that believes in putting our children at the heart of everything we do."
Bosses at the school in Tipton were 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 initially defended the move, saying parents had since May last year to make the payment with 80 out of the academy’s 450 pupils having contributed to the ‘extra’ equipment.
It comes as a petition was also launched in opposition to the parent council scheme – collecting more than 1,600 signatures to date.
On the Change.org petition, parents wrote: “We the parents at Wednesbury Oak Academy are starting a petition against the school in regards to the ‘no pay no play’ scheme set up during lunch time play.
“The parents that have paid and parents that haven’t are totally against the separation of the children as this can cause upset, bullying and social exclusion amongst other things.”
They wrote that the scheme had been met with “outright disgust” from children, parents, staff and grandparents.
Speaking to the Express and Star earlier in the week, mother-of-two Kirsty Williams, aged 28, said the move was 'bullying' and 'separating the rich from the poor'.
She 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."