Friday 29 July 2016

Michaela Secondary Free School punishes children for having hard-up parents

I suspect not many of my readers also read the Daily Mail so here is a brief summary of an on-line story carried by the Mail LINK.

Katharine Birbalsingh who hit the headlines when she became Michael Gove's darling after she told a Tory Conference that the education system was broken based on her experience at a London secondary school, is head of Michaela Secondary Free School in Wembley Park.  The school advertises its strict discipline policy and 'private school ethos' and has a laudatory comment from Boris Johnson hanging on its exterior.

The Mail story is not about the school's strict umbrella code (black or navy blue only) or its service to parents whereby they can text pictures of school shoes they are about to buy for approval LINK, but about its attitude towards the children of hard-up families.

The Mail reveals that children whose parents are behind with meal payments are put in lunch isolation, being made to sit on their own for the whole lunch hour, and are given a sandwich instead of a hot meal with dessert.

The Mail quotes a letter from the deputy headteacher, Barry Smith, to unemployed care worker Dionne Kelly. Dione had paid by the time she received the letter but her child was punished anyway:
The deadline for this term's lunch payment was 1st June 2016. You are currently £75 overdue. If this full amount is not received within this week your child will be placed into Lunch isolation.

They will receive a sandwich and a piece of fruit only. Only when the outstanding sum is paid in full will they be allowed to eat lunch with their classmates.
Birbalsingh told the Mail that the letter was sent in an attempt to encourage the parent to change her ways and support her son by paying for his food.

Sam Royston of the Children's Society said, 'No school should punish and potentially stigmatise a child because a parent has not paid for, or is unable to afford, school meals.'

Today, Saturday, Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North commented on Twitter: (Secretary of State)
 It's what you get when a Tory government sets schools "free" from local democratic control & accountable only to SoS


Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Thanks for this, Martin.

I am reminded of the daytime TV ads for funeral protection insurance and the like that are fronted by obviously rather affluent figures saying, "It's not fair to leave your loved ones to pick up the tab for your funeral."

Meanwhile, 'equity release' ads have retired parents remortgaging their homes to help pay their less advantaged offsprings' ways through life as a 'solution'.

Whatever happened to the welfare state? Part of the answer to that is that in the 'naughties' John Hutton and later Tony Blair set an investment banker loose on it to further what a dodgy American insurance company named Unum had been doing to advise on 'welfare reform' since 1994.

Alison Hopkins said...

This story was stolen from the local paper with no acknowledgment.

Martin Francis said...

The timeline for this story was Daily Mail July 28th 22.31, Daily Mail updated version July 29th 16.37; Wembley Matters July 29th 09.57; Kilburn Times July 29th 13.04

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Re tweet from Barry G, is not today Saturday rather than Sunday, Martin?

Unknown said...

The problems with this school are so overwhelming, I don`t know where to start! The curriculum it offers which is available to see on its website makes me think that none of these children will be able to pass their SATs, let alone GCSEs! Everything is taught chronologically, even Literature which starts with the ancient Greeks and the poor year 7s have to cope with this! The compulsory vegetarian meals issue that all children must eat is a smoke screen.