I’ve received this comment on my blog from a desperate parent who found me via a search.
In this case, expectations of pupil premium kids appear to be being lowered because they are entitled to the pupil premium, and the ‘interventions’ are an example of lower expectations. While low expectations of poorer kids is prevalent across the UK, I’ve rarely seen it as explicit as this:
Hello. I’m in a predicament about Free School Meals and the Pupil Premium and wondered if you may know a solution to this.
I have 3 primary aged children. I’m divorced and single. All 3 of my children are very academic. We are a typical middle class family whose main income comes in the form of maintenance from my ex husband and with him paying the mortgage directly. As all maintenance is ignored as it’s not a taxable income, it means I qualify for child tax credit. The combination of maintenance and child tax credit (with my ex also paying the mortgage), leaves us very comfortable – but not rich! I did not claim free school meals as I didn’t need to.
All parents received a letter from school asking those of us who were entitled to claim to please do so as the school got a significant amount of money. After thinking about it, I decided that the saving of school meals for 3 children was worthwhile, even although I was managing quite comfortably. The fact that the school and those who needed the extra attention would also benefit was a win win, so I claimed.
Now, I’m really annoyed. I find my children are being pulled out of lessons (often with children in their class who they have nothing in common with and some who are know to have social/behavioural problems. My children’s names now appear separate on registers from the rest of class and written in red ink to identify them as requiring extra attention. My boy has been prioritised to read every single day despite being an excellent reader whilst others who are not on free meals could benefit from reading in his place. My youngest girl was pulled out of class to build Lego and make paper aeroplanes! With 2 boys, none of her friends, no girls and one boy being known for being a handful. My eldest ( due to go to grammar) has noticed that only she and certain individuals she has nothing in common with mentally or otherwise are the only ones getting letters which leaves her curious and asks me what the letters are about. My children don’t know they get free meals or that anyone gets free meals and I’m concerned that this ‘special attention’ which is not required and giving the assumption that they are on par with less able children which isn’t true.
I now want to cancel my claim as I’m fed up of my children being singled out for no reason, missing classes which are important and because my claim doesn’t appear to be going to the children who need it more.
Now I’m being told by staff that even if I cancel, my children will still be treated as premium children for another 6 years and with my eldest due to go to grammar soon, I was hoping for a fresh start.
Is there anything I can do to stop this?
Please offer advice in the comments. My advice would be to go and discuss this with colleagues in the school as high as possible, asking for proposed impact on your child, and pointing out that PP kids don’t all need the same thing because they are entitled to benefits.