Tipton school criticised for ‘pay-to-play’

CREDIT: This story was first seen in BBC News

Parents were left angered after a school stopped children playing on sports equipment unless their parents had donated money towards it, BBC News reports.

Wednesbury Oak Academy, in Tipton, asked parents for £6 towards equipment, then separated pupils into those who paid and those who had not.

Some parents started a petition against the move, which they said was “social and financial discrimination”.

The school has now reversed its decision.

In a brief statement, the school’s chair of governors said they had “listened to the concerns raised and will be ending the scheme with immediate effect”.

More than 1,500 people signed a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

“All should play or none should play,” it read.

Principal, Maria Bull, earlier defended the move, and told the Express and Star that 80 out of the academy’s 450 pupils had contributed to the extra equipment.

One parent, who asked to remain anonymous, has three children at the school and chose not to pay the voluntary contribution.

“I was never made aware of the completely disgusting repercussions this would cause to my children,” she said.

The children, she claims, “were separated on to two playgrounds; one for the children whose parents had paid and on for those who hadn’t”.

She said her six-year-old daughter had been “visibly upset” and “couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to play with the school toys”.

“She thought she had been naughty.”

“I’m relieved that the segregation has stopped now,” she said, but added she is “sad that an environment that’s supposed to nurture our children could do this in the first place”.

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.”

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