Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

To Think This Is Discriminatory?

(95 Posts)

Dd1 is 14 and ds is 12. They both attend the local secondary school.

They both do well at school and are both on or above their targets. (I'm not boasting, this is relevant information)

My income is very low and so they receive free school meals.

On Friday they were both withdrawn from class at different times to speak with the school 'Progression Manager' Several other children were also removed to speak with him too.

They were informed that as they are on free school meals they were being monitored to see if they might need extra help with their work.

Basically there is an assumption that because they're from a poor family they might be a bit thick!!

I'm stunned that they are linking poverty with poor intellect!!

MrsDeVere Mon 30-Sep-13 19:10:41

Our income is low.
Our kids are mixed race and have a disabled parent and a disabled sibling.
They are male and working class.

All things that have been shown to be risk factors for poor educational achievement.

But we don't qualify for FSM. Do the pack lunches I make give them superpowers allowing them to overcome all of things sociologists have deemed to disadvantage them?

MrsDV you are completely right in the sense that your family and mine totally demonstrate how arbitrary it all is. They obviously select on one criteria when its so much more complicated than that.

I'm honestly not as smug as this post will undoubtedly come across, but my DC are:
In possession of educated parents both with careers and in the highest tax bracket (so no FSM)
Probably from one of the most financially comfortable families in their school
Part of a 2 parent family, neither of whom have disabilities
Previously recorded as excelling at school
Not disabled and perfectly healthy

Yet because they are black, or considered to be and male, they were grouped in as 'disadvantaged' when really if you had looked around that school it was quite obvious that lots of children of different ethnicities were in much more challenging situations and needed the time and support my DC were getting unnecessarily.

I think these initiatives have good intentions but they could do with being better thought out and having a series of qualifying criterion not just one or two.

TinyCC Mon 30-Sep-13 19:56:22

As the kids are bright, could you turn it round on school and ask how they're going to use the pupil premium to further stretch them and enhance their learning opportunities?

zower Mon 30-Sep-13 20:48:33

I am amazed at some of the responses you've had here. And completely understand why your son was embarrassed. How insulting to be explicitly singled out in this way, just how rude as well as thick.

hermioneweasley Mon 30-Sep-13 20:51:44

you are being ridiculous

Tinycc, that is an excellent idea!

MrsDV's situation proves just how stupid this system is!

finallydelurking Mon 30-Sep-13 21:17:17

The school has to do this, if they want any hope of getting/keeping a good/outstanding at the next OFSTED inspection. 'narrowing the gap' is the current buzzword. They HAVE to demonstrate what they're doing to help their FSM children, if your DC are doing well academically they still have to prove to OFSTED exactly what they have done to improve your DC's life chances (whether they need them improving or not) with the pupil premium allocated for your DC. They should/could find themselves in receipt of free after school activities/trips.

Having said that it's a requirement for all schools, it does sound like your school have been shockingly crass in fulfilling their obligations.

Pigsmummy Mon 30-Sep-13 22:23:41

I would have loved free school dinners and extra tuition, or atleast someone to check on me, sadly I was neglected by a parent earning lots of money, money that I never benefited from and through neglect wasn't able to study as much as I wanted too. Don't be offended OP, trying to identify children that need support isn't easy, they were just trying to help.

Xollob Mon 30-Sep-13 22:27:24

If it's a countrywide initiative they can't just pick and choose who to apply it to. Statistically they are less likely to do well - of course that doesn't mean that they are not doing well.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 30-Sep-13 22:43:40

It's crazy system in my view.

My DC are not in receipt of FSM, however my son has SN and SEN and I have been to hell and back to try and get extra funding for him.
Yet I know of a little girl in his class who is extremely bright ( my friends daughter) who gets FSM and will get extra help on this bases.

I don't know why this funding can be stopped and use it for the children who actually need it. I say that on both ends of the scale from those who struggle to those who are gifted.

maddening Mon 30-Sep-13 23:03:25

imo it should have been a conversation with the parent - which might be a good chance to gain insight in what support - if any - was required. And the parent is more likely to be able to discuss and understand in finer detail what the program is and what options are available to their dc etc maybe a further meeting once all is in place with the dc so it can be discussed with them in an appropriate manner with the support of the parents who will be part of that plan - if any is needed.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 30-Sep-13 23:12:58

Good idea. Bad execution.

Op - it may be worth you going to talk to the school about what you think the pupil premium should be spent on for your children. Is there anything education based that you wish you could buy but can't?

Turniptwirl Tue 01-Oct-13 00:27:35

Yabu

I think it's great they were offered help even though they're doing well! There might be some kids who are doing well but could do even better with a bit of support (I was one of these although it was to do with a lack of effort rather than fsm!)

Poverty (which they are defining by fsm) is inextricably linked to not achieving potential at school . There are many complex reasons for this, not just intelligence ("you're poor so you must be thick") but the attitudes of some parents , lower aspirations, peer pressure and many more. Of course these don't apply in all cases and I'm pleased to see they don't seem to in your DC's. But the school is right to try and help redress these disadvantages if they are present.

zower Tue 01-Oct-13 08:44:49

I am aghast still thst children in school meals were pulled from classes by a "progression manager" to have their work monitored. I don't care about statistics, what about the child's feelings FGS! I would complain. Apart from the utter crassness and stupidity, it also signifies laziness. Rather than bothering to read individual children's reports and maybe speak to the parent, its easier to herd a bunch of probably confused children into a room and ask them how they are doing as they're on school meals. Box ticked. Honestly some teachers shouldn't be anywhere near children. And the end does not justify the means.

WilsonFrickett Tue 01-Oct-13 11:00:57

But forty my DS school does get money for his SN, trouble is it's up to the HT to spend as they see fit. What they see fit and what I see fit are two different things. At least the pupil premium is ring-fenced so it has to be spent on the pupils it is intended for. I said upthread, I don't think the way this school has gone about it is particularly helpful, but I wish my son's funding was ringfenced and they had to report back exactly how WilsonJrs money was spent on WilsonJr.

Feminine Tue 01-Oct-13 11:50:26

I'd work with your children to improve their self-esteem op

It shouldn't have had such a bad effect on them.

frogspoon Tue 01-Oct-13 12:10:14

There is nothing wrong with monitoring the children, it is just that, monitoring.

What would be discriminatory is if your DCs were e.g. put in a special class so they could have "extra support" because they are on FSM.

However I don't think it was necessary to withdraw them from class to monitor them. All the "Progression Manager" needed to do was ask to see e.g. the teachers markbook, and talk with the teacher, to target those most in need of extra support.

tethersend Tue 01-Oct-13 12:28:45

The school have done this in a really cack-handed way.

I am an advisory teacher for Looked After Children, who also receive pupil premium. Prt of my role is monitoring achievement of the children on my caseload, and finding out how their pupil premium grant (PPG) has been used to further their academic attainment.

"Wilson but why still monitor children when they're doing very well?"

Because they may be able to do better- exceed their target, gain A*s, apply to Oxbridge etc.

In an ideal world, this would happen for all children, but the government have chosen to focus on this particular group.

Things schools have used the PPG for include: 1:1 tuition, extra curricular lessons, summer schools and laptops.

The money needs to be used to make sure children reach their academic potential- regardless of whether they are currently doing well IYSWIM.

There is a discussion to be had as to whether the school have set targets too low if they feel that children may be able to achieve them with additional input, but that is another thread wink

tethersend Tue 01-Oct-13 12:30:20

Agree that the way school have tackled this is incredibly divisive.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now