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On Friday they were both withdrawn from class at different times to speak with the school 'Progression Manager' Several other children were also removed to speak with him too.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!!
All the evidence links poverty with under achievement. It sounds like a good initiative to me. In what way is it discriminatory?
there are thousands of pieces of research that show that children from disadvantaged backgrounds do less well at school
YABU to think the 2 are not linked
Because it assumes my children would have poor intellect just because they are from a poor family.
You're missing my point. My dc both do very well in school. He could see their grades as he had their files and yet they were still pulled out of class just because they're on free school meals.
As the others have said. It's because of the proven link between disadvantage and doing less well at school that the pupil premium was introduced. That is not to say that every child from a disadvantaged background will do badly at school, and certainly not to say that they have are lacking in intellect.
If I said black children were being monitored because the school assumed they would be poor performers just because they're black, their would be outrage!
Why is it discriminatory?
Teacher: We are monitoring children on FSM to see if they need any help with their work. Do you need any help with your work?
DCs: no ta
Teacher: neither you do, look at your grades. Off you pop and no running in the corridor.
Where's the discrimination?
In fact, the only way this is discriminatory is if there are children struggling who aren't on FSM who may not get this extra help.
surely you would only need to look at pupils results though to see if they would benefit, rather than lump ALL of the children on FSM onto a mobitoring program.
it generalises an entire group of children and potentially wastes a load of time that could ve used to help other kids (including those not on fsm) who actually need support
it IS frickin stupid
Because they are still being monitored even though they are doing very well.
YABU for getting the hump. There are robust statistics associating poor academic outcomes with poverty. This might not be because the children in question are 'thick' but because they have (for example) no space to do their homework, a chaotic home environment, parents who themselves struggled academically or any one of a number of other factors often associated with poverty.
Free school meals is a blunt but relatively effective identifier of the poorest pupils so it makes sense to target academic support at children in receipt of free school meals.
I think it's a reasonable initiative, even though clearly it doesn't apply to your DC. Rather than (mistakenly) resenting the implication that your DC are 'thick', be thankful that you've done a great job despite lack of funds and as a result they don't need academic support.
children are monitored though, boys and girls, white and black, summer born etc
white, British boys underperform the most, so they are being monitored
we do at in the nursery I work in, so don't really see why it should be any different at high school
Yanbu. Low income and underachievement are linked but it's a chicken and egg situation - you could argue that because school expect poor performance from children of low income families that's what they get.
I was when a friend was told she wasn't welcome on a surestart course because she isn't a "target"parent. The only reason she isn't a "target" is because of her income. Purely because she isn't /poor she is considered not to need any support. For all they know she could be depressed/abusive
They're not suggesting that they have poor intellect, they are suggesting that they might underperform (ie not do as well as they should according to their intellect).
In the same way, schools have to show how they are helping summer born children (youngest in the school year) and children with English as an additional language, as these groups are likely to underperform. There is also a lot of work behind the scenes developing schemes of literacy that might appeal more to boys, as they tend to underperform in reading and writing.
It's not in the least bit discriminatory, it's an effort to understand and reduce disadvantage where it might occur.
Wilson but why still monitory children when they're doing very well?
Dd was not bothered but ds was actually upset and felt "embarrassed.
If you google 'pupil premium' you'll get an idea why this happens.
IMO it's a fantastic thing. It's great that your kids are doing well but a lot of children from low income families are not and they deserve extra help.
For what it's worth, I'm on a low income myself and my kids are bleedin' geniuses but I work in a school and see that it is often kids from lower income families that need extra help.
It shows that the school are doing their job!
It may transpire that your dcs don't need extra help. But the school would be failing if they weren't aware of the link between family income/FSM and achievement.
Not sure about secondaries, but in primary schools extra funding is given in relatin to the number of children with free school meals - the pupil premium. The school has to be able to provide proof of how their use of the pupil premium has improved outcomes for the cohort of kids receiving FSM currently or at any time in the last 6 years.
Actually most schools probably are monitoring all groups known to be at a higher risk of underachieving.
It's not to do with intellect. It's to do with likely having less immediate resources, to have parents who have been to university and so have first hand knowledge and experience, less likely to be able to afford a tutor if grades start to slip etc.
I know it may seem insulting, but it's really not meant to be. Can you see it as an opportunity and extra attention to ensure your children reach their full potential?
/suffering dv but they assume she isn't purely because she isn't poor. It's a shocking attitude.
but this is extra monitoring for all fsm children, even the ones who dont need it.
The theory is good, but the execution was poor. I could understand the progression officer pulling all FSM students in for a chat if he had no idea where they were wrt targets, pulling them out and linking it to FSM despite having evidence that they're ahead of their targets was poor.
Blanket judgments are rarely a good thing.
How have your DC responded to it?
oTheHuge thank you for the complement.
It's positive discrimination for those on FSM
It's negative discrimination for those not on FSM who need the extra help.
Just because they are doing well doesn't mean there is not a way the school can assist them within this scheme.
They are not assuming anything. Research has pinpointed a correlation between kids needing FSMs and reduced performance and they have started an initiative to monitor these children to see if they can offer assistance.
The 'Pupil Premium' is funding given to schools on the for the benefit of FSM pupils. Schools have to show that pupil premium money is being used to support pupils on FSM and that they are making progress.
But if they're monitoring all children on FSM then they're monitoring all children on FSM.
And if many children on FSM at that school do as well as your DCs then they presumably are doing really good things with their teaching practise and approach. If they don't monitor everyone in the target group it may look like they're doing really badly with their FSM children, which wouldn't be good either. They have to monitor everyone to get a true result.
ds was actually upset and felt "embarrassed.
Not good! Is there anyone at the school he could speak to about the way this was handled?
Our school is trying to improve the outcomes for white working class boys. Because school data suggests that they are not achieving as well as white working class girls or children who are black/ethnic minority or children with SEN. For some reason we're just not performing as well as we would lie, when it comes to securing good achievement and progress for WWCB and that's something we need to address.
Btw it wasn't a quick check. They were both in their for a good 20 minutes each. Ds is exceptionally bright, is in top sets for everything etc. and yet this person spent the whole time giving him the message that he wasn't going to do well because he's from a poor family.
Maybe it's a good idea in theory but it has been poorly executed by the school.
Your children might be doing very well but still not achieving their full potential. There's no assumption about poor intellect, quite the opposite - they were checking whether some already high achieving children could be assisted to do even better.
There's no suggestion that the kids we're letting down aren't bright or capable of achieving progress just as well as other groups. It's demonstrating that we need to raise our game.
There are plenty of reasons other than intellect why children struggle. It's awful, but there will be children who go to school hungry or cold or stressed because their mum or dad is crying about the rent money again. Those children are going to find it harder. Looking at the group of children who qualify for free school meals is probably the best way to find those children.
If they only looked at children getting low marks already, they could miss children who're under a huge amount of pressure but who're still achieving.
Fgs the government just cant win can they? Yabu
I agree with the OP - it is inappropriate to single children out who are on FSM in this way.
Yes there is a link between FSM and low attainment, but the SMT only have to look at the figures that they should already have to see if the OP's children are in need of support.
Are they being inspected to see how they've spent their pupil premium soon I wonder...knee jerk reaction?
and yet this person spent the whole time giving him the message that he wasn't going to do well because he's from a poor family.
If that's the message your DS received from the meeting it was the wrong one and someone needs to know about it. Outcomes will not be improved by telling ANY target group they won't do well (or at least sending that message inadvertently), it's pretty shoddy for a school to set the tone of 'we don't expect you to achieve because you're <whatever target group>!
I would definitely complain clementine. Singling children out purely due to income without acknowledging their obvious abilities IS discriminatory. Monitoring can be done without dragging children out of class and embarrassing them. I really hope the experience doesn't damage your son's motivation.
I use to work as a ta in a primary school that was in quick an affluent area.
There were just as many children from wealthy families that struggled because they didn't get a proper breakfast or were not going to bed early enough. There can be emtional and physical neglect can occur in any family. b
Plus the talk could easily have been couched as "we notice how well you're doing and were wondering if there's any way we could make life easier for you to help you carry on doing well" - no need to mention free school meals or underachievement at all.
Ds actually cried last night. Dd was less upset but still not happy.
What message are we giving them!?
Doesn't sound like they handled it very well. Do you think this is what they said or this is what your DS heard if he is sensitive about being on FSMs?
I think that's disgraceful. I'd be furious too and put in a complaint to the Local Authority.
What message are we giving them!?
By the sounds of it, one that says they're expected to fail...
Your poor ds. I am really annoyed for him. He must feel so defeated.
You might as well be honest and say people will assume he's "not good enough" because of his background/income but he can just stick two fingers up to them by exceeding their shitty expectations by miles.
I don't think its discriminatory as it isn't one of the recognised categories of discrimination.
I do think it is stigmatory, and I think stigmatisation can be very harmful to some. They should not have been targeted if their grades, attendance and behaviour were good, and this can be checked on paper.
I think people are missing the point.
OP I would be put out too.
There are ways of doing this sort of thing. This seems a lazy and stigmatising approach.
I can see the point that it shouldn't have been done in a way to draw attention to the OP's kids.
But if a child is getting good grades, attending well and behaving well, wouldn't it mean they'd be more likely to slip through the net in other ways? I mean, nothing else would be calling attention to them. And presumably they target children on free meals because they know some children are slipping through the net?
It does sound very poorly executed. Certainly take that up with the school. I fell under a similar scheme when I wa younger, but they helped me visit universities and arranged a mentor from the university in my home town. It was certainly a lot more positive than the meetings your DC had, by the sound of it.
awesome! Just think what they could achieve if they were rich! take advantage! scholarships in public school! pre-entry interviews with top tier unis!
you can never win my three yr old is almost definatley is autistic we are awaiting a diagnosis but was not entitled to two year old nursery thing because we are not on benefits he is not toilet trained not speaking [although this is slowly getting better ] these schemes are all very well in principle but I think they need to be more child centred and look at the needs of the child not what statistics say! I mean ok he is not under privileged but he is a vulnerable child due to his problems and I believe nursery at an ealier age would have helped him alot
For the record, I think the way they've gone about it sounds appalling. But it's not discriminatory.
Perhaps they went about it badly but the statistics don't lie. YABU. They are monitoring your children, not forcing them to accept any extra help.
x2boys I'm sorry you're struggling to get support for your son. The whole system is crazy! It should be more child centred.
I've spoke to the member of staff who met with my children and he has confirmed my ds's story.
Surely this would be better implemented by quietly keep an eye on the relevant children and stepping in only when support is needed.
Not read the full thread, but
Your kids are Pupil Premium kids because they get FSM. The school gets extra money for them and will be asked how it is spent. They need to provide a paper trail of intervention strategies.
So, my very brightest Y9 is Pupil Premium and I have to say what extra I do for her - she needs no extra, but I have to document it.
agreed clementine statistics only work up to a point and by the way I think the way your childrens school handled was completely out of order if there is an issue with a child it can be done far more senstivly and lets look at the kids not what sodding statistics say!
Surely that's positive discrimination - clumsily done, but essentially trying to make sure that all children are on a level playing field by targetting extra resources at children who have a higher risk of growing up in poverty, whihc will affect their health and performance at school. Of course there are lots of underperforming children who don't get fsm, but it is the measure that is used. If I was you I'd milk the system to see what extra help I could get for my kids.
What message are we giving them? That it's not ok to fail because of factors beyond your control, and if you need help it's there.
I think they are reasonable to check if the connection between poverty and needing extra help has been proven. However, surely they don't need to pull children out of class to do that. Why can't the teachers look at the list and give feedback on their own pupils. That why nobody is being singled out but those who need the help get it.
It does seem like it hasn't been handled very well but I think its a situation of the road to hell being paved with good intentions rather than an act of malice.
To pick you up on an earlier point, when my DS1 was at school, around 8 years ago, both he and I were informed that as a young black boy residing in the inner city he would be subject to monitoring because this group apparently under-perform or fail to achieve (can't remember the exact phrasing). Seemed very strange to me as I'd think the majority of young black boys live in cities in this country, and secondly he had done very well at primary school and on his exams at the start of year 7.
It wasn't classed as being discriminatory, it was at the time classed as being helpful. I think since then statistics have changed and white boys are now considered the failing group.
FSM is a marker for educationally vulnerable children.
Trends in the 90s showed some children eligible for FSM struggled. I, personally, think its a bunch of bollocks! I've taught very wealthy children who have had no home support and struggled an also very bright children with lots of support on FSM.
They're probably due an ofsted inspection and they're trying to demonstrate support for 'vulnerable' groups
Basically there is an assumption that because they're from a poor family they might be a bit thick!!
You have no evidence for that what so ever. If your child(ren) needs a tutor for GCSE can you afford it? Would you be happy if the school provided it?
There are loads of reasons (other than being thick) children from poorer backgrounds find it harder to study.
Some are carers, some share a room with a much younger sibling (or, in the case of one student I taught her older sister and sister's baby), some have no where warm and quiet to do homework, some live in houses with no books.
The school doesn't and often can't know these things, the only measure they have is FSM.
There is evidence that children on FSM do not attain their full potential for numerous reasons. None of these may apply to your children but they will apply to some in the school.
If the school has £x000 pounds to spend on children on FSM how do you want it spent?
I get it. I was eligible for FSM. I ended up getting a 2:1 from Oxford. My mum now has a phd. She was poor because she was a single parent, not because she didn't know how to educate her child
I know it can be an indicator of underachievement. But it's incredibly insulting to people to think that a low income= dumb.
And this is why the pupil premium is ridiculously divisive, unfair, and pointless.
Target extra funds where it is needed, rather than where parents are low income. There are too many exceptions to the rule for it to make any sense whatsoever.
I understand where you are coming from tbh
i read that article about women in their 20s being more likely to have a child that dies this morning and my bloody pressure went through the roof
It particularly focused on those with disabled/chronically ill children too which just touched buttons with me having had a severely disabled child at 22, another (NT) child at 23 and another before I was 30
I don't like to be pigeonholed
most people don't!
I dont see how a teacher having to do extra documentation on every single pupil on poverty and provide evidence as to what extra they have done for them is the best use of time tbh, as the teacher above said she even needs to do this for her 'brightest year 9 pupil'
what about those pupils who may be struggling but have NO resourse or extra help because they arent on fsm
oh and btw, I have a degree too, as does my husband (we are both from poor backgrounds) though what I posted about above, they suggest young mums in their 20s don't have further education either - shame on the bbc
I can see how it is hurtful but discrimination is unfair adantage given based on whatever criteria.
this is not unfair, they tried to help.
in fact if I were you I would say yes to any extra help.
tutoring is so expensive, your children will be helped at the level they need.
so just say yes! if then they are assessed and they are "too clever" I'm sure the school can decide to give their places to someone else.
there's a Hungarian saying " If you are given (something) take it, if you are beaten run away!"
think about it!
(hugs as you feel hurt)
ys i agree regarding calling it discrimination
Even children on FSM who are doing exceptionally well may benefit from some extra support from school.
Schools are in such a hard position sometimes- criticised if they do help, criticised if they don't.
Schools recieve Pupil Premium funding which MUST be spent on students in reciept of FSM or who are in care. I think that this sounds like a very transparent way of establishing with the children what may be needed.
An example of how it can help an excelling student might be providing revision guides, or opportunities to attend trips to FE colleges for instance. Our school provides transport for students whose parents can't pick them up following revision sessions/ extra curricular activities (we are in a rural area where public transport is poor).
The logic is sound. It is proven that pupils on fsm are statistically less likely to achieve their potential. This is proven in singular cases, and school level (schools with a very high % of fsm pupils often do less well than those in more affluent areas)
If the way it was executed left your child embarrassed or upset then that needs discussing - but not the scheme in general. Hitting decent marks is NOT the same as achieving your potential.
You sound very sensitive over the issue tbh and it's a YABU from me.
The logic is sound but you'd have to be incredibly naive not to think children would feel singled out for this.
Children totally notice disparities in income/ ability/ etc, and if a child is being pulled out of class to go off with the 'special teacher' or 'for a chat with Mr Soandso', of course others will notice and most children would feel embarrassed by this, I think.
There must surely be a way to do this that doesn't breed resentment.
Also, it's not like the OP kicked off about this and then lo and behold, her DC were upset. She feels like this because her DC came home and told her they didn't like it. Which says to me that it was handled clumsily, otherwise they would never have come home talking about it in the first place.
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.
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?
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.
you are being ridiculous
Tinycc, that is an excellent idea!
MrsDV's situation proves just how stupid this system is!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I'd work with your children to improve their self-esteem op
It shouldn't have had such a bad effect on them.
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.
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
Agree that the way school have tackled this is incredibly divisive.
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