The Guardian are reporting that the head of a London secondary school that places pupils in “lunch isolation” if their parents don’t pay for school meals is unapologetic over the policy, arguing that parents who refuse to pay are betraying their children’s education.
Katharine Birbalsingh, the head of Michaela community school in north-west London who imposed the policy, argued that the children affected were from dysfunctional homes and needed the school’s support.
“Free school meals looks after the poorest. Even then we have all sorts of systems for people who really are in financial need, and I mean the real ones. I don’t mean the ones who are playing the system, trying to get other poor families to pay for their child’s food.”
“We’ve got three families in the whole of the school where this is the case. They are all families who are betraying their children. One we are reporting to social services,” Birbalsingh said.
Michaela prides itself on rigorous discipline. Its behaviour policy details demerits for daydreaming or slouching in class, or for having a loosely knotted tie. A full detention is earned by poor reading, swearing or lateness.
Michaela’s arrears policy was criticised by the National Union of Teachers, which said: “Schools should be careful not to create a situation in which children are stigmatised because of budgetary issues which are beyond their concern.”
Do you think schools should punish pupils because of their parents’ actions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter ~ Nellie
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!